A House of Lords Committee is to investigate the Licensing Act 2003, which granted the hospitality and leisure industry the freedom to serve alcohol for 24 hours day.
The inquiry into the Licensing Act 2003, which begins next week, will question officials from the Home Office, Department of Culture Media and Sport, and the Department of Health, as well as Public Health England on the effectiveness of the legislation.
Areas that will come under scrutiny include the fees and costs associated with the Act, the consequences greater alcohol availability has had on the health of the population, minimum unit pricing and its impact and the powers held by enforcement authorities including the police.
Chair of the Committee Baroness McIntosh of Pickering insisted the inquiry was ‘long overdue’ and encouraged ‘as many people as possible’ to submit written evidence before 2 September.
“While many heralded the Act as the start of a more continental drinking culture, others predicted round-the-clock consumption, leading to disorder and a deterioration in public health,” she said.
“But what has the reality actually been like? Has deregulation allowed the drinks industry to thrive? Have drinkers embraced a more relaxed and healthier approach to alcohol? What happened to the anticipated café culture?”
The first evidence session is due to take place at 11am on Tuesday 5 July.