When the Labour Government decided to relax the rules on 24 hour drinking in 2006, it was met with a lot of confusion and many found it to be an extremely controversial move. As many of us are now working different hours and have busy lifestyles, it was thought that the 24 hour drinking law would help offer a more flexible approach.
What Is 24 Hour Drinking?
As part of The Licensing Act 2003, which is an act of the Parliament of the UK, licensed premises can potentially open for 24 hours a day over the full week. The idea behind this is to try and reduce binge drinking, as people can drink throughout the day, rather than being confined to certain hours and it also means that there aren’t crowds of people all leaving pubs at the same time. The intention was to give people more freedom, like we see in Spain and other countries, with a more relaxed culture leading to less trouble.
As for the long-term consequences, and effects on the hospitality industry, numerous bars have extended hours to take advantage of the relaxed rules, and home delivery services like alcohol-delivery.co are popping up all over London!
The law applies to England and Wales. There have been over 1,000 premises which have been granted permission to sell alcohol for 24 hours a day. This includes pubs, clubs, supermarkets and other stores. There are thousands of other premises who were granted extensions on their opening hours as part of the change in law.
Result of 24 Hour Drinking
Many have criticized the 24 hour drinking law and there have been plenty of calls for it to be changed. Alistair Campbell, who was director of communications under Tony Blair, said that there should be a new strategy composed to take the negative effects of 24 hour drinking into consideration. Figures have shown that the number of alcohol trouble hotspots has increased by 150% since 2007, which is just a year after it was introduced.
It is difficult to determine whether the 24 hour drinking law is at fault. It often depends on the attitude of those drinking; some will simply view it as an opportunity to drink all day, while others will appreciate the opportunity to drink at more flexible times to suit their life.