Michael Fabricant has welcomed plans announced by the Home Secretary today to curb binge drinking in our city centres. "Although I have never felt intimidated in Lichfield on a Friday or Saturday night, I am well aware that many Lichfield residents feel worried when walking through the City centre late at night on a weekend.
"The problem often arises from youngsters getting tanked up on cheap booze before they even enter city centres. So the plan to introduce minimum pricing in supermarkets and off-licences which sometimes sell alcohol as a loss-leader has my full support”, says Michael. "And later this year, Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Orders will give local authorities, like Lichfield District Council, the power to control late night drinking. Hard pressed police forces will receive funding through a Late Night Levy which will be charged on businesses that sell alcohol late into the night.
"But these controls will not only help make Lichfield and other parts of the West Midlands less rowdy at night, it will enhance the experience of visiting Lichfield – or ‘LichVegas’ as it has become known. LichVegas has become renowned as a great venue for a good night out and the local economy has benefitted accordingly. These controls will make Lichfield even more hospitable to locals and visitors alike.
"Traditional pubs and restaurants for which LichVegas is becoming particularly famous, will be mainly exempt from these controls. They should feel the real benefit of not being heavily undercut by cheap lager and cider. In some shops and supermarkets, drinks are now so heavily discounted that it’s possible to buy a can of lager for as little as 20p or a 2 litre bottle of cider for around £1.70. That has to be wrong.
"As the Home Secretary said in her statement, ‘Those who enjoy a quiet drink or two have nothing to fear from our proposals. The local pub has nothing to fear. The responsible off-licence has nothing to fear.’ And I agree.