LILLEY CALLS FOR JOINT ACTION TO CURB UNDERAGE AND BINGE DRINKING
Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has called for action between the police, teachers, pubs, off-licences and supermarkets to tackle the growing problem of under-age and binge drinking. He also called for all-Party support for this approach and urged local LibDems to drop their policy of reducing the drinking age to 16.
Peter Lilley said: “Under-age and binge drinking won?t just go away. There is growing concern not only about drunken behaviour in our town centres but about the damage it causes to families and communities. Teachers tell me about pupils arriving at school with hangovers; parents about worries for their own children; and young people about the peer pressure to drink to excess. The more deeply this culture is allowed to take root the more it will destroy young lives and the worse it will disfigure our communities.
“It is time to bring together all those who can help tackles these issues: not just police, magistrates and the Council, but also schools, off-licences, pubs, supermarkets, youth clubs, churches, parents; and, not least, young people themselves.
“Co-ordinated action would help identify rogue outlets which are selling to under aged youngsters; let parents know if their children are at risk; focus police presence where it is most needed; and reinforce a moral climate which emphasises responsible behaviour not hedonistic self-indulgence
“The worst possible thing would be to lower the age at which drink can be sold to young people. I was appalled that when the LibDem spokesman was asked: “Is it LibDem policy to lower the drinking age to 16??, he replied “Yes. I do not think I could explain the position more clearly?. (January 2005). I call on LibDems in Hitchin and Harpenden to repudiate this policy.
“I hope the sort of approach I am suggesting should have all-party support.?