Thursday, October 08, 2009

'People should need a licence to drink'

Drinkers should have to get a licence to enjoy their favourite tipple - and could lose it if they overindulge, says a prospective MP.

John Cowan, Labour parliamentary candidate for South East Cambridgeshire, says the swipe card-style licence would also reduce the crime costs associated with alcohol consumption. Introducing the idea on Labour networking site, LabourList, Mr Cowan said his scheme could lead to a "better functioning society".

The licence would work in the same way that a driving licence does. People would carry the card with them and swipe it every time they brought alcohol or tobacco.

Drinkers who got into trouble for being drunk and disorderly and other minor crimes would receive a fixed penalty notice and have three points endorsed on their card.

Monitored in places such as supermarkets and pubs, those who commit more serious offences would have their card endorsed with even more points and once the limit had been exceeded, the card owner would be disqualified from buying alcohol or tobacco.

But some publicans criticised the idea. Sarah Hemingway, manager of The Regal, in Cambridge, said: "I had 5,000 people through my door on Saturday, so how on earth would we have the time to check every one of those? In my opinion, it is ridiculous."

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