THERE has been much talk of late over various proposals to try and tackle the rise in binge drinking and the associated behaviour which blight many town centres across the country.
But additional legislation or taxes are not the answer. There needs to be a renewed focus on individual responsibility.
Increasingly, the State has become intertwined in virtually every aspect of our lives, inevitably eroding the ability of society to think for itself.
The starting point to a more mature relationship with alcohol has to start at home.
In addition, the trade itself also needs to behave differently to help redress the widely acknowledged problems with alcohol abuse and misuse, and retailers also need to ask themselves if selling alcohol at a loss, or using it as a loss leader to drive other sales, is acceptable. Surely the answer is no?
But it seems society has lost the ability to realise that itself.
In Westminster, host to Leicester Square, Soho and Covent Garden, we use existing legislation effectively to ensure areas are not saturated with more late night bars and clubs than they can cope with.
We also have a voluntary agreement with dozens of super-markets and off licences through which they agree not to sell super-strength cider and lager to prevent street drinking. These are localised practical solutions to help deal with alcohol misuse, but there also needs to be a cultural shift so people take responsibility for their own actions, along with the industry itself.
CLLR DANIEL ASTAIRE
Cabinet Member for Community Protection Westminster City Council