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Issue:- 2 December 2010

Health campaigners welcome new measures to give public greater say on licensing decisions

NORTH West health campaign group Our Life, welcomed new government measures to give local communities more powers to influence licensing decisions as part of a range of measures to tackle alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.

The measures, contained in a new Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill announced today, include giving communities and local authorities greater control over alcohol licensing to tackle problem premises. Local councils will have new powers to restrict premises from selling alcohol late at night and will be able to clamp down harder on premises who persistently sell to children. Local NHS trusts will also be able to oppose applications for new alcohol licenses where public health could be put at risk.

Our Life chief executive Dr Alison Giles said:- “When the government consulted on these issues earlier in the year we presented research that showed that nearly 50% of people in the North West avoid their town centres at night because of the drunken behaviour of others, so we are delighted that the public is to be given a say in when, where and how new licenses are granted. Our Life has also long argued for licensing to take account of health considerations and we welcome the fact that the government has come round to this way of thinking.”

While welcoming many of the bill’s measures to address alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder, Our Life was critical of the non-inclusion of any proposals to ban below-cost selling of alcohol by supermarkets. The government had previously promised to implement a ban on below cost sales and this was widely expected to be included in the bill, but the Home Office confirmed it had not been taken forward.

“We are very disappointed that the government has not seen fit to take immediate action to stop supermarkets selling alcohol at pocket-money prices.  Our understanding is that the Home Office is struggling over the definition of below-cost and how this might be implemented. Our advice to them is simple. The most effective method of enforcing a ban on below-cost selling is to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol without delay. Our Life will continue to campaign for its introduction.”
said Dr Giles.

Calling all cycling Santas!

LOCAL people are being invited to don their Santa hats and get on their bikes this December for a special Christmas cycling session.

Cycle Speke holds a free Festive bike ride on Sunday, 5 December 2010. Setting off from Austin Rawlinson Lifestyles, Parklands at 2pm, the ride heads, at a leisurely pace, to the Speke Garston Coastal Reserve, via the old northern airfield with its grade 2 listed buildings.

As the cold nights set in, it’s a great way to get the blood pumping, keep fit and meet other people who enjoy cycling, as well as seeing parts of Speke you may not have seen before.

At the end of the ride, all cyclists will be treated to mince pies and a hot drink at Speke Estate.

The ride is led by qualified cycle instructors, all abilities are welcome and there’s no need to book. Cycle Speke’s winter rides usually finish before dusk, but this cannot always be guaranteed - so please make sure you check the lights on your bike.

Cyclists must have a roadworthy bike to take part and all children under 14 should accompanied by an adult. Before each ride starts, a free bike check is available. Problems can be diagnosed but not fixed.

If you don't have a bike, don't worry! Cycle Speke has a limited number of pool bikes available. To book your bike in advance, please phone Claudia on:- 0151 233 5246 or email.  First come, first served. 

The Cycle Speke project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

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