Last week it was revealed that the number of alcohol related hospital admissions is fast approaching one million a year. Last year 945,000 patients were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary alcohol-related diagnosis.
These latest figures underline the real life consequences of Labour's failed approach to alcohol. Rather than the ‘café culture' Labour Minister's promised when they introduced reforms to the licensing laws, we've ended up with a binge drinking culture with the police and hospital casualty departments bearing the brunt of the consequences of drink fuelled excess. Most police forces admit to fighting a constant battle against alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour and disorder, particularly in town and city centres on a Friday and Saturday night.
That's why Conservatives would introduce a package of policies to tackle the problems of binge boozing. We would introduce greater controls over licensing - strengthening the say of communities on alcohol applications in their area. This would be backed up by giving councils the right to set a late night levy on pubs, bars and off-licences opening late into the evening.
Those outlets that decide to stay open late would pay part of the costs of dealing with the aftermath of excessive alcohol consumption. We would also introduce targeted taxes on those products most closely linked to binge boozing and ban below cost sales of alcohol - an approach already adopted by several other European countries. It's time to ‘call time' on Labour's failed approach.