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Caithness News Bulletins March 2005

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Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has called on those with access to a computer to submit a response to a web forum on the Licensing (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Transport Committee launched the forum recently so that members of the public can help inform the Committee's consideration of the Bill.

Mrs Macmillan, who sits on the Justice 2 Committee, which is also considering evidence on liquor licensing, said, "The new Bill aims to create a more modern, simple and flexible system for Scotland and also to create a legislative framework to help reduce underage and binge drinking. The Executive's plans have been published and can be accessed on the following link:-

Add your views in the forum to be found here -
Scottish Parliament Discussion Forum - Licensing (Scotland) Bill Forum

Licensing issues can affect many people in the Highlands and Islands, particularly those who live near licensed premises and others who experience disturbance or other forms of anti-social behaviour in our communities. Excessive drinking, not always in licensed premises, is heavily implicated in many forms of
criminal behaviour. Binge drinking is also becoming an increasing problem and one which can lead to long-term serious damage to health. Similarly, under age-drinking must be tackled - including access to alcohol by our youngsters.

The web forum has already received responses and is an easy, accessible way for members of the public, to express their views on this important topic. Licensing law in Scotland has not received a major overhaul for several decades and society has changed greatly since then. It is vital to listen to and consider all submissions on this issue so that the final legislation reflects all shades of public opinion. "

Mrs Macmillan added, "In the near future I will be accompanying police in Ross-shire to experience at first hand what drink-related problems occur in my local community at weekends. I hope this will give me greater practical insight into aspects of licensing law and its ultimate impact on our towns and villages.

The web based forum on the Licensing (Scotland) Bill 2005 will remain open until the 22nd April and I would encourage as many people as possible to take the opportunity to contribute to this important issue."