Britain to ban binge-drinking promotions

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Britain is to ban "irresponsible" promotions which fuel binge drinking and alcohol-related crime, in the latest bid to curb the notorious practice, a minister said Tuesday.

From April, pubs, clubs and bars will be barred from offering "all you can drink for 10 pounds"-style promotions, as well as events like speed drinking competitions, said Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

"Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year," he said, stressing that the idea was to target irresponsible retailers, not to clamp down on the ordinary drinks industry.

"While the vast majority of retailers are responsible, a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions which fuel the excessive drinking that leads to alcohol-related crime and disorder."

The new measures - designed to curb alcohol-related crime which costs Britain some 8-13 billion pounds a year - also include forcing pub landlords to ask for identification proving that drinkers are over 18.

They would also ban "dentist's chairs" events where drink is poured directly into the mouths of customers, as well as making water more easily available, and smaller measures of beers, wines and spirits.

But they do not give local authorities the power to ban "happy hour" promotions, during which drinks are cheaper, or bulk offers in supermarkets.

British authorities have long struggled to contain a binge-drinking culture which makes some town centres no-go zones on Friday and Saturday nights, and to introduce so-called "continental style" moderate drinking habits.

Britons' reputation for drunken antics abroad is also well-known, typically involving stag nights in Prague or Budapest, or all-night benders in Spanish and other Mediterranean countries' bars.

Johnson added: "These practices have a real impact on society, not to mention the lives of those who just want to enjoy a good night out. The government and the industry have a duty to act."

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