Thursday, March 20, 2014

So That's All Right Then

I had a pleasant lunch today with some current and some retired colleagues. We meet as former members of the old Licensing Committee that used to consider licensing the sale of alcohol, betting and gaming, and suchlike.

Since licensing was taken away from local JPs and given to the Council the criteria for grant or refusal of a license have become a mechanistic tick-box exercise. Magistrates retain the right to consider appeals.

Our conversation inevitably drifted on to the changes, and one colleague made the point (and I paraphrase) that the town centre has seen a big increase in late-night drunken violence, while many of us are concerned about the pernicious effect that FOBT (roulette-type) machines in betting shops are having on the poorest and least rational of our fellow citizens.

Frank summed it up: "That worked all right then, didn't it?"


  1. Has an honest economic analysis of the benefits/costs of the night time economy been done? Do the business rates and taxes really fully offset the extra policing, NHS work, puke and other clean up etc etc? Maybe it would be more sensible to hand responsibility for clean up, duty of care and keeping order to a private operation for the night time - totally paid for by the bars/clubs etc - no police or NHS involvement at all - and then see how the night time economy develops. I harbour a suspicion the taxpayer is subsidising the night time economy.

  2. That kind of selective 'retirement' of police coverage does have profound implications for the public though. Would you (as a non-partying bystander) want to walk through a town at night, on legitimate business, and not be protected by genuine police officers?

    Should the granny living nearby be unable to call the police for assistance to deal with trouble just because she lives in a designated 'night time economy' zone?

    Perhaps it would be far better for the police to just issue a bill, shared among the establishments, pro rated by number of crimes per premises. They already do so for, e.g. providing security for large events, so there is a precedent.

  3. The "night time economy" is based on alcohol which is taxed at 50% or more (eg, in a £3 pint of beer £1 is duty+VAT) compared to the more usual 20% for regular goods and 0% for uncooked foodstuffs.

    Add to that the jobs created and the income and corporate taxes and business rates paid as a result, and you may find that the night time economy is well worth its downside.


Posts are pre-moderated. Please bear with us if this takes a little time, but the number of bores and obsessives was getting out of hand, as were the fake comments advertising rubbish.