Institute of Alcohol Studies Challenges Government over Millennium Binge Government proposals ‘Against Public Interest’.

Government Ministers are being challenged by the IAS to
provide assurances that health and other public services will be
maintained over the millennium holiday period.

The challenge is contained in the IAS response to Government
proposals to allow pubs and clubs to open continuously for 36 hours over
the eve of the millennium and subsequent New Year’s Eves.

While not opposing extended drinking hours as such, the IAS
argues that the Government is wrong to impose all-night opening on local
communities: local licensing committees can already grant extended
drinking hours if they think that this is appropriate. The IAS also
questions whether adequate safeguards are proposed to ensure that public
services will be maintained.

There is already great concern, the IAS says, that the health
service will struggle to cope with technological problems arising from
the ‘Millennium Bug’, staff shortages and possible flu epidemics. Given
the known burden of alcohol-related problems on the health service,
particularly accident and emergency departments, 36 hour continual
drinking could be the last straw. The same problems may be experienced
by the public and transport services.

The IAS challenges the Government to make public the
information and evidence on which it based its optimistic assumption
that all-night opening will not cause such problems. Failure to provide
this information can only confirm that the Government’s proposals are
against the public interest.

Notes For Editors

Download the full IAS response, New Year’s Eve Licensing Hours.(pdf 67kb)

For further information please contact:

Andrew McNeill
Work: 01480 466766