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Alcohol Abuse

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th April 2014.

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Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Labour, Blaenau Gwent 2:30 pm, 28th April 2014

What recent progress she has made on tackling crime and antisocial behaviour arising from alcohol abuse.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Minister of State, Home Department

The coalition Government has overhauled the Licensing Act 2003, giving local areas stronger powers to deal with problem premises. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 will provide front-line professionals with powerful new tools to tackle alcohol related antisocial behaviour. We are also banning the worst instances of cheap and harmful alcohol sales, and we are working with 20 local alcohol action areas to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder.

Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Labour, Blaenau Gwent

Given strong evidence that a higher price for alcohol means less public disorder and better health, when will the Government do the right thing—as they have finally done with plain packaging—and introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol?

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Minister of State, Home Department

Minimum pricing is on the radar; it has not been ruled out and the matter is still under consideration. We are looking with interest at what is happening north of the border in Scotland, and helping the Scottish Government in its efforts.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

Will the Minister update the House on how early morning alcohol restriction orders and the levy for late night licence holders are working to contribute to the costs of policing antisocial behaviour?

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Minister of State, Home Department

I am very pleased by the roll-out of the late night levy, including in Newcastle, Cheltenham and elsewhere. I believe that Islington is next, and Chelmsford is showing an interest as well. We are looking at the responses from local councils on early morning restriction orders to see what feedback we have received, and we will amend the measures as necessary.

Photo of Simon Wright Simon Wright Liberal Democrat, Norwich South

Prince of Wales road in my constituency is the centre of Norwich’s night-time economy, and residents and councillors have launched a stakeholders forum to consider how to deal with the impact of excessive alcohol consumption in the area. The Minister has received a copy of the first report ordered by Councillor Ben Price. Will he join me in welcoming that community-led activity, and will he meet me and Councillor Price to consider how we can take forward the report’s recommendations?

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Minister of State, Home Department

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his work with his local councillors on this important matter. I welcome the community strategy document he mentions and would be happy to meet him and Councillor Price.