Scotsman (Scotland) – Labour’s plan for alcohol bill slammed

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The SNP has hit out at a Labour bid to scupper plans for some areas to ban under-21s from buying alcohol.

MSPs have already thrown out the idea of a blanket ban.

But now Labour deputy health spokesman Richard Simpson wants to amend the Scottish Government’s Alcohol Bill to remove the clause allowing local licensing boards to introduce their own bans on off-sale purchases.

The intervention was welcomed by the National Union of Students.

But the SNP accused Labour of turning its back on communities affected by alcohol- related crime.

It said a pilot under-21 ban in Armadale, West Lothian, had seen a 57 per cent reduction in assaults, a 55 per cent reduction in calls to police about youth disorder and a 54 per cent fall in reported vandalism.

SNP backbencher Michael Matheson said: “It is ridiculous that despite clear evidence from pilots that an age limit of 21 can have dramatic effects on antisocial behaviour, crime and drunkenness in problem areas, Labour are content to leave councils, police and local communities with no action to take.”


Source: Scotsman (Scotland), 11/09/10