Scots bars face extra charges

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Late-opening bars and clubs in Scotland could face extra charges in areas where drinking leads to anti-social behaviour under a plan mooted by the ruling Scottish National party.

Kenny MacAskill, Scotland’s justice minister, said a “polluter pays” approach would be considered ahead of a forthcoming licensing act. Senior Scottish police officers have been asked for their views.

Mr MacAskill said: “Those who are given the right to sell alcohol must bear the responsibility for the social and economic costs. The effects of alcohol on our city and town centres is not cost-free and those who profit from it must contribute to addressing it. It’s not right that taxpayers pick up the whole of the bill, licensees should pay their way too.”

The proposals would see late-opening bars charged an additional fee that would go towards policing.

Speaking at a seminar on licensing, Mr MacAskill said a well-enforced act would help change Scotland’s alcohol culture. But Colin Wilkinson, secretary of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said it would be unfair to target pubs and clubs over anti-social behaviour when so many other factors should be considered.

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