Drinking is 'out of control'
DRINK-RELATED disorder risks spiralling out of control, the Home Secretary has warned Tony Blair in a letter leaked ahead of tomorrow’s launch of the government’s long-awaited alcohol strategy.
Voluntary measures to tackle binge-drinking - from an end to "irresponsible" drinks promotions to town-centre marshals - are expected.
David Blunkett’s call for tough new powers across England and Wales has been blocked up to now by the Prime Minister, the Treasury and Culture Department. But he could be allowed to charge pubs, bars and clubs for policing and set drinks prices if the voluntary approach fails to end Britain’s booze problems.
His letter to Blair said the "situation at night in our towns and city centres raises serious concerns about the control of alcohol-related crime and disorder". Other leaked papers say the growing number of bars and clubs means police can no longer enforce licensing rules.
That worrying picture is expected to be reinforced when ministers set out the full extent of the problem today.
Under-16s are drinking twice as much as ten years ago and lifestyle changes mean more are continuing to drink heavily until a much later age.
Among the cures expected to be proposed by ministers are city-centre marshals to patrol areas such as taxi ranks and bus stops, and an investigation into alcohol advertising.
Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "The government’s alcohol strategy looks like it will be too little too late."
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