New Clause 3 — Alcohol disorder zones

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 7:15 pm, 8th March 2010

That is the point. I was genuinely trying to make the point sensibly, and not in a partisan way, so that we could try to make the legislation more workable in the spirit of positive opposition. It is interesting that the Government have turned their face against the proposal, and indeed against the very local communities that they claim to represent. It has been a fascinating debate, in terms of the Minister's response. He very much seems to want centralising control over local authorities, which would make the scheme unworkable and ensure that local councils did not have the powers that his Bill seeks to set out. It has been interesting to see how he responded to amendment 23.

Mr. Flello, highlighted his experiences in his constituency and rightly identified the problems with alcohol that affect not just his community but many others. Chris Huhne supported what we said about alcohol disorder zones. We have highlighted the fact that the measure was designed to create a soundbite, rather than a sound basis for dealing with the alcohol-fuelled disorder that affects far too many of our communities across the country.

The Minister accepted that there are problems, but the number of accident and emergency department admissions related to the problems of alcohol has continued to grow over the past few years. It seems clear that the Government's policies have made the situation worse, not better. We believe that there is a much more elegant way of achieving the end of ensuring that contributions are made to the cost of dealing with the late-night economy and late-night drinking: a late-night levy. By contrast, alcohol disorder zones have been a policy disaster zone from start to finish. We believe that there is a better way of dealing with the problem. That is why we would introduce a late-night levy and abolish ADZs, and why we would like to test the opinion of the House on this issue.