It has been 10 years since the government changed drinking laws in England and Wales to allow pubs to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.
The move was met with a good deal of controversy. There were suggestions that it would lead to round the clock drinking, increase alcohol consumption and put more pressure on the police due to violence.
Supporters said it would reduce alcohol related crime as drinking would be more spread out over the evening and night time and that it would encourage a “continental café culture”.
So, have any of these things happened? Well, our drinking habits have changed but these seem to be in line with trends which started before the change to licensing laws.
Binge drinking has decreased and violent crime has decreased. However, these were falling before the 24 hour law and have continued to fall in the same pattern as previous decades. However, alcohol related crime is still high and 53% of police time is spent on drink related crime. According to the government the cost of alcohol misuse is estimated to be around £21 bn a year.
More people in the UK are teetotal than ever before with 21% of adults not drinking at all. Young people have really made a difference here and there was a 40% rise in teetotal young adults from 2005 to 2013. However, linking any of these changes to the Licensing Act is difficult. Overall it doesn't seem as if there have been any measurable negative or positive results.
And as for a “continental café culture”, you really just have to consider British weather!
If you want help and support to cut down the amount of alcohol you drink or stop altogether, then just give me a ring or an email. I see lots of people who would like to get some help with their drinking patterns and I work on getting something that is the best fit for you.
Have a lovely Christmas!