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last orders

SWEEPING new laws to crack down on the scourge of binge-drinking will be announced by the government this week.
Ministers say a voluntary code of conduct for the drinks industry has failed—so they are bringing in compulsory changes.
Under the proposals pubs and off- licences will be FORCED to put up lists at the tills saying exactly how many units of alcohol are in each drink.
Experts believe the gradual increase in the alcohol content in wines and beer is partly to blame for drunkenness. Twenty years ago the average amount of alcohol in beers and lagers was between 3.5 per cent and four per cent. Now the most popular drinks are between five and 5.5 per cent with strong lagers up to eight per cent.
The government will also BAN promotions like all-you-can-drink deals or women-drink-free offers.
And FINES for drinking in public will be massively increased. Currently cops can impose a £500 penalty for drinking in areas where it is forbidden, such as city centres. That fine will be increased to £2,500. Cops will also be given greater powers to SEIZE booze from kids.
Currently they can only confiscate alcohol from children they can prove were going to drink it. That means it is difficult to nab cans and bottles that have not been opened.
The government will also TOUGHEN the law on shops selling alcohol to children. At present they can lose their licence if they are caught selling booze to kids three times in three months. But in future they will lose it if they are caught out twice in three months.
The changes are included in a policing and crime bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. The bill comes after a government report found 10 million adults regularly drink more than guidelines. Boozing also costs £25 billion a year in drink-related crime and health costs.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: “We all face a cost from alcohol- related disorder and I have a duty to crack down.”
MINISTERS were yesterday unable to agree on plans to cut cigarette sales. Health Secretary Alan Johnson wants displays of ciggies in shops outlawed, forcing them under the counter. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson is blocking the idea because it would hurt small shops.



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