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Keeping tabs on toll of later pub hours.

The effects of the new Licensing Act are to be monitored in Birmingham to determine the effects of late-night opening on health and crime.

Birmingham has been named one of ten "scrutiny councils", where Government officials will analyse the effect of the new Act, which comes into force tomorrow.

Ministers also want to make sure the concerns of local residents are taken into account when councils are deciding whether or not to extend licenses.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Licensing Minister James Purnell have written to every local authority in England and Wales urging them to turn down applications when residents had legitimate concerns.

"The Licensing Act will bring in tougher protections against alcohol-related crime and disorder and public nuisance, as well as ensuring public safety and protection of children from harm"I want to be absolutely clear; where an application for longer hours would undermine those objectives, the public interest should win hands down."

Mr Purnell said: "We have agreed with the Local Government Association measures to ensure the new laws deliver for local people when they fully come into effect on November 24."

The scrutiny councils would be used to ensure it was implemented properly, he said.

A thorough review will take place in three months.

The other councils involved are Blackpool, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Havering, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Taunton.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport yesterday revealed that 240 pubs throughout the country had received licenses allowing 24hour drinking. But they were outnumbered by supermarkets, which received 250 24hour licences
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2005
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