Speaking at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association annual conference, shadow public health minister Mike Penning MP said the original 2003 Licensing Act, enforced in 2005, was ‘fundamentally flawed’.
He referred to Act allowing ‘24-hour drinking’, though very few establishments have been granted a round-the-clock licence.
He said more people are drinking at home before going out: “Pre-loading means that the on-trade isn’t making any money out if it.
“24 hour drinking is fundamentally flawed and we would favour a more traditional approach. Pubs are inheriting the problem, not the profit.”
Penning also accused the Labour party of making ‘knee-jerk reactions’ to the problem of binge drinking.
He said the Tories do not support an advertising ban or current plans for minimum pricing on alcohol.
He continued: “We didn’t support the hike in duty. We would look to lower duty on low alcohol drinks and raise it on higher alcohol drinks.”
He cited high-strength cider and lager in particular.
Penning said proxy purchasing for underage drinkers is a problem that the Tories would seek to tackle.
He said that the Labour party has ‘run away from the debate in schools’.
He added: “We have to address the fact that 14, 16, 17 year olds are drinking – and some to excess.
“They have to know the damage they are doing.”
There will be a General Election before 10 May 2010.