Islington is the first local authority in London to introduce a voluntary scheme to stop the sale of cheap super-strength alcohol. Two thirds of the Borough’s off-licenses have already signed-up to a voluntary agreement to remove high alcohol content beers, lagers and ciders from their shelves.
This is a further part of Islington Labour’s drive to cut alcohol fuelled crime and disorder.
The Council’s new licensing policy effectively results in a ban on new licensed premises across the Borough; scaling back the closing times for the Borough’s many pubs, clubs and off licenses; and rigorous enforcement against licensing breaches.
The Council’s latest ‘Reducing the Strength’ project has been supported by many local off-licenses, with over 65% agreeing to support the campaign. Shop owners have voluntarily reduced the availability of cheap super-strength alcohol, the sale of which has been linked to crime and anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council's Executive Member for Community Safety, said: "Cheap super-strength beer and cider fuels a lot of anti-social behaviour and violence that blights communities.
"I'm pleased that so many local off-licences have taken cheap super-strength drink off their shelves and urge others to follow their example, to make Islington's town centres and parks a better place for everyone."
“Islington has one of the highest concentrations of licensed premises in the country. We have some of the worst health problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption. And we have more crime, nuisance and family difficulties caused by alcohol than most other parts of London. We are taking a firm stand to fix these problems with a mix of sensible licensing policies and rigorous enforcement. I am delighted that the licensed trade understands what we are doing and their agreement to voluntarily remove high strength alcohol is a great indication of their positive and responsible attitude."
Cllr Convery was interviewed by BBC London News about this innovative scheme and his interview can be viewed here, approximately 14 minutes into the broadcast.