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Lib Dems criticise 24-hour Licensing Act

Liberal Democrat MPs are calling on the government to hold pubs, bars and off-licenses to account for the country's drinking problem.

The party has revealed that of the quarter of a million personal licence holders in the country, just 24 have had their licence suspended or revoked.

Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster said that existing laws to avoid unsociable drinking behaviour were not working.

He pointed out that four licences were convicted for serving a person who was drunk in 2005.

He adds: "When the new Licensing Act was introduced, we were promised a continental drinking culture, but in reality we've seen a dramatic leap in alcohol related A&E admissions and a surge in drunken violence.

"We have laws in place to guard against these incidents, but they just aren't being enforced - when laws are flouted, licences must be revoked or suspended."

Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said that local people have the right to demand a licence review, but these powers have "little impact in reality".

He adds: "Less than 0.4% of all licensed premises have actually been reviewed using these powers. We have constantly argued that decisions about licensing are best made locally but this is clearly not happening."

Conservative Party

Liberal Democrats