The industry has criticised moves by the government to change its licensing regime. The consultation, launched yesterday, includes a host of new plans to help deal with alcohol-related problems, including a hike in licence fees and having a health objective in the Licensing Act. Kate Nicholls of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers branded the consultation a “missed opportunity”. She said: “I had hoped for a more creative approach, but it’s just the same old story. It’s particularly disappointing after the Conservatives pledged to save the pub before the election. “There’s a lot of big stick, but no sign of a carrot.” Brigid Simmonds, the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) chief executive, said many of the new powers already existed and just needed to be used properly. She said: “A very positive result that could come from this review is greater clarity for local people, local authorities and local police about the powers they do have and greater encouragement to use them. “While it is absolutely right to hold business to account, it is equally vital to hold individuals responsible for their behaviour – drunken louts need to be penalised for the menace they cause to their communities." She added: “24-hour drinking is and always has been an enormous urban myth – great for headline writers, but far from reality.”