Rather than posting a load of text all at once, I am blogging about my manifesto one item at a time.
So I am focusing on a different topic each day.
Some of these things will not be on the Home Office site as the 300 words allowed was simply not enough!
Today I am focusing on two new powers that came into effect yesterday. Both are about dealing with crime and anti social behaviour caused by alcohol misuse.
The Co alition Government has given local Councils the power to prevent early morning alcohol sales in particularly troubled areas, and to charge a fee to some businesses that sell alcohol late at night and in the early morning.
The point of the early morning measure (Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order) is that where there is an area that is demonstrably affected by crime and anti social behaviour because of the alcohol sales, a council can step in and restrict the sales. This is obviously a step of last resort but in neighourhoods that are plagued by this problem it could be the last step that needs to be taken.
The point of the Late Night Levy is to accept that there are extra costs (policing and enforcement) linked to alcohol being sold late at night. If a Council decides to use the levy, the money goes partly to help pay for enforcement but also partly to help pay for policing. (There are quite a few exemptions - like Business Improvement Districts and Councils can decide on discounts etc so that it is not a one size fits all policy)
In each case the Council has to decide whether to start using the power.
As far as I can see, none of the Councils have taken the decision to use the power(s) yet (although Liverpool has at least discussed it) but if I am elected I will be keen to see all local authorities on Merseyside using the Late Night Levy power and being prepared to use, as a last resprt, the Early Morning Restriction power.
This isn't about stopping people having fun. I like a drink myself.
But there are clearly social and crime related costs to alcohol sales very late at night or in the early morning and its only fair that these costs are recognised and met.
And responsible businesses tend to recognise this.