Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Licensing Policy Review and the City's Night-Time Economy

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Licensing Policy Review and the City's Night-Time Economy

Article excerpt

THE city council must review its Licensing Policy every five years after recent legislative changes, concerns from residents and the police combined with the desire to maintain a vibrant city centre and decent neighbourhoods, the review has commenced.

Newcastle's night-time economy (NTE) plays an important part in creating a vibrant, sustainable economy for the city. Every year around 19.2m people visit Newcastle and Gateshead, spending approximately PS346m on food and drink.

This activity supports over 7,000 jobs. The entertainment provided within the city also brings people together to socialise and is valued by many people.

However the excessive consumption of alcohol also has a significant economic impact across the services and population of Newcastle.

The NTE has been developed and driven by local operators many of whom have been associated with the city for up to 30 years. The city council considers this local input to be fundamental to the unique offer of Newcastle.

The proposed policy will also address issues of concern associated with the off-trade which now accounts for more than 60% of alcohol sales at a significantly cheaper price than the on-trade. Over the last five to 10 years drinking behaviour has changed with an increase in drinking at home.

More than 60% of alcohol is now being purchased in off licences and supermarkets, this change in drinking patterns has been driven by low cost alcohol.

Pre-loading with cheap alcohol prior to a night out by half of the people visiting the city centre is a cause for concern.

The city council are strongly in favour of minimum pricing and have made representations to government supporting the proposal.

It is encouraging that both local and national operators are still making new licensing applications in order to invest in the city, and the proposals generally being for the provision of a quality offer. …

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