The purpose of the Licensing Act was not to deal with the problem of binge drinking. That was the message from Shaun Woodward, Licensing Minister, to delegates at a Business In Sport and Leisure (BISL) conference to mark the anniversary of the bill. Woodward said: “This doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem with excessive drinking among 16 to 24 year olds, but it can’t be resolved through legislation. “I believe in self-regulation as the first port of call and working in partnership with the industry.” Woodward said that although the dire predictions propagated by the media about a café culture that would lead to an increase in crime had not happened, the whole picture one year on wasn’t complete and could only be formulated after several years. He added: “Although the transition period has been difficult and things could have been done better, no one would want to go back to the old licensing reforms. The licensing regime has been simplified, we have reduced 200 forms down to 20.”