The Government is delaying the launch of a controversial report into the effects of introducing a 24-hour drinking law because it concludes that deregulation has fuelled both underage and binge drinking. The Home Office is understood to have postponed its publication because it is “nervous” about the conclusions.
The withering report has been drawn up by management consultancy KPMG, which was appointed earlier this year to review the alcohol industry’s existing self-regulation codes. These include the Portman Group’s code of practice and the alcohol advertising codes set up by the self-regulatory Advertising Standards Authority (MW February 7).
The KPMG report calls into question the role of pubs, bars and the off-trade and why they continue to serve people who are drunk or underage. It slams the Government for not taking sufficient action against rogue traders and trafficking.
The KPMG report was due to be published last month but insiders say the Home Office is “more than nervous” about the report because it will have “huge implications for the Licensing Act, which was a New Labour policy”.
The report is also likely to precipitate heavy criticism of the amount of money the Government has spent on campaigns aimed at curbing alcohol abuse. Earlier this week it launched a campaign targeting women with the warning that binge-drinking could destroy their looks.
The poster, which is running on the London Underground, shows a woman with saggy skin and a blotchy nose and has the strapline: “If you drink like a man you might end up looking like one”.