Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Doubting Thomas

According to this report, St Thomas’s Hospital in London has recorded a threefold increase in alcohol-related admissions since the introduction of the new licensing laws in 2005. This has been used by anti-drink campaigners as a stick to beat the chimaera of “24-hour drinking”.

But St Thomas’s is in the City of Westminster, where no new licences for drinking after 11 pm have been issued at all, so it must be highly questionable how this rise has occurred, and whether it is not just some statistical blip. It would certainly be dangerous to influence policy on the basis of one isolated figure without establishing whether it is mirrored across the country.

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