HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 c895
7. Mr. John Grogan (Selby)

If he will make a statement concerning the better regulation unit's report on liquor licensing. [80298]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr. Peter Kilfoyle)

The Government's response of 29 October 1998 welcomed the task force report. The Home Office is committed to acting on the report's short-term recommendations and has launched a wider review of liquor licensing to examine the long-term recommendations.

Mr. Grogan

Does my hon. Friend agree that the experience in Scotland over the past 25 years of a more flexible system of regulation of the opening and closing hours of public houses reinforces the need for modernisation of the laws in England and Wales? As Allan Charlesworth, the serving police officer who chaired the better regulation working party pointed out, closing all the pubs at 11 pm means that large numbers of people spill out on to the streets at the same time, which increases the chances of public disorder.

Mr. Kilfoyle

I certainly agree that there is a lot to be learned from the experience in Scotland and elsewhere. The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth), who is charged with handling the report, is examining those lessons in great detail. They will be applied, in both the short and the long terms, when licensing hours are reviewed.

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