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Caithness News Bulletins March 2005

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Maureen MacMillan MSP Supports New Bill to 'Call Time' on Binge Drinking

A new Licensing Bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament designed to tackle binge drinking and give communities more of say on the granting of alcohol licences.

Maureen Macmillan MSP is backing the Bill, which also sets a requirement for all licensees to operate on a 'no-proof, no-sale' basis to stop underage drinking.

Welcoming the publication of the Bill Mrs Macmillan said, "I am delighted that this Bill has been introduced to Parliament. These are the first major changes to Scotland's licensing laws for over 25 years and it is critical that we respond to the needs of our local communities and tackle the antisocial behaviour that is often associated with alcohol.

Throughout the consultation process people from across Scotland said that they wanted more of a say in the granting of licences. I believe that giving local people a voice before new licences are granted is an essential reform, and I am glad that the proposals for Local Licensing Forums are included in the Bill. There will also be a far more extensive complaints procedure introduced, including assessments on overprovision and the ability to block licences on this basis."

The MSP is also supporting moves to tackle antisocial behaviour and underage drinking. She added "Recent figures have also shown a shocking rise in the number of young teenagers drinking alcohol. That is why I am solidly behind the requirement for all licensed premises to operate on a 'no proof, no sale' basis.

I'm also glad that the Bill will crackdown on irresponsible drinks promotions, which encourage binge drinking and so often lead to drunken antisocial behaviour on our streets. We need to cut the link between alcohol and crime, and I believe that this new Bill is a significant step in the right direction. Constituent's can be assured that I will be supporting these measures as they pass through Parliament."