Thursday, August 19, 2010

UK Government wrong to dismiss request for alcohol licensing powers out-of-hand

Wales Office Ministers are wrong to dismiss out-of-hand the request to devolve power over alcohol licensing to Wales, the Welsh Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has said.

Referring to the intention of the Health Minister, Edwina Hart to seek legislative competence for the Assembly over the licensing and pricing of alcohol through the planned Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, Mr. Black said that the proposal deserved serious consideration by UK Ministers.

“I was disappointed,” he said, “at the way that Wales Office Minister, David Jones, rejected this bid so quickly. I understand that there is currently an England and Wales consultation in terms of 24 hour licensing and alcohol fuelled crime, but that does not mean that the UK Government should be deaf to requests for this to be dealt with by the Welsh Assembly.

“Official Welsh Liberal Democrat policy is to devolve justice powers to Wales along with the administrative responsibility for police and prisons. Licensing would form part of that package. As we are part of the UK Administration as well I would hope that Ministers would at least consult with us before dismissing the Health Minister’s request out-of-hand.”
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