Tough measures aim to cut binge-drinking in Plymouth
A BAN on cut-price booze is among a raft of proposals aimed at cracking down on binge-drinking in Plymouth.
Other measures being considered by ministers include giving the city council beefed up powers to strip problem pubs and clubs of their licences, and doubling the fine for selling alcohol to children to £20,000.
It could also charge more for late-night licences to pay for extra policing.
The proposals to overhaul the licensing legislation were unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May who said Labour's 24-hour licensing regime had failed to create a "cafe culture".
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She said police and hospital A&E departments had been left to "bear the brunt" of booze-fuelled violence.
Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View Alison Seabeck said her constituency had a serious problem with youth-drinking.
Ms Seabeck said: "I certainly think we should be looking at the cost of alcohol."
"Police and Police Community Support Officers spend a disproportionate amount of time picking up young people under the influence.
"Cutting the very cheap alcohol people can pick-up out of that loop might help and would certainly relieve pressure on hospital A&Es."
But she warned over further cost burdens on businesses, and backed a levy on alcohol sold at supermarkets, which would benefit pubs.
Tory MP for South West Devon Gary Streeter said: "We said at the time that 24-hour drinking was a bad idea. It was one of the worst failures of the previous government.
"It let the genie out the bottle in terms of drinking and anti-social behaviour.
"This fresh approach is to be very much welcomed."
Other options outlined by the Government include making it easier for communities to have their say on local licensing by allowing local authorities to consider the views of the wider community, not just those living close to premises.
Councils and the police would also be able to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children.
In addition, ministers are to consider tightening up rules for temporary licences by limiting the number that can be applied for in any one year, saying these are often used to get around the restrictions of applying for a permanent licence.
In a written statement to MPs Mrs May said: "While we recognise the important role which pubs can play as part of the fabric of neighbourhoods and communities, the introduction of the Licensing Act in 2005 has not brought with it a vibrant cafe culture.
"Too often on a Friday and Saturday night, the police and local A&E departments bear the brunt of some of the worst excesses of binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder.
"We are determined to change this and will be proposing to introduce more flexibility into the current licensing regime to allow local authorities and the police to clamp down on alcohol-related crime and disorder hot spots within local night-time economies."