On Thursday the 21st of February 2013 Cambridge City Council debated a Labour proposal to ban super strength lager and cider. I filmed the debate and have posted all the main elements of it online.
Cllr George Owers spoke for the proposal which formed part of the Labour opposition’s “alternative budget” for the council.
The proposal, which was defeated in a vote, involved spending £80,000 over three years, primarily on employing a ‘Reduce the Strength’ Licensing Officer. The Labour explanation stated:
New licensing officer with remit to develop and implement a voluntary code of conduct for local licensees where retailers would agree not to stock high strength beers, lagers and ciders. The officer would have a remit of creating and promoting this code, persuading licensees to sign up, and co-ordinating the campaign with the police, NHS and other local community organisations with an interest in reducing problem and especially street drinking. They would also assist police gather evidence concerning problematic and street drinking for the purpose of potential licence reviews.
During Cllr Owers’ speach he appeared to go futher and call for a ban on super strength lagers and ciders (other than specialised foreign lagers) claiming they kill more people and are more addictive than class A drugs Heroin and Cocaine.
My view is we need to elect councilors who are prepared to use the existing licencing laws and staff. If there is a problem with a particular shop selling super strength cheap drinks then a licencing review can take place and councillors can impose conditions restricting what can be sold.
There needs to be better education, and easy access to health services to help those with addiction problems. We need to treat the underlying problem, not seek to make alcohol slightly harder, and more expensive, for alcoholics to obtain.
- Meeting papers see item 6(c) for Labour proposals