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Young Persons (Intoxicating Liquor)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the increase in alcoholic drinking among young people and the consequent difficulty of licensees being able to determine whether they are of the age fixed by Statute; and what remedy does he propose to solve the problem?

I am keeping a careful watch on this matter, but the information I have been able to obtain does not support the suggestion that an amendment of the law is called for to check alcoholic drinking by young people. In connection with any statutory prohibition relating to young persons, difficulties of enforcement are liable to arise because some of them may appear to be older than their actual years; but I can find no ground for the suggestion that there is any widespread failure to comply with the prohibition against selling intoxicating liquor to persons under the age of 18 for consumption on licensed premises. The police and the licensing justices are fully conscious of the importance of seeing that this provision of the law is strictly observed.

Has my right hon. Friend seen a recent letter in "The Times," signed by a number of distinguished social workers, and the comments of the Chief Constable of Warrington and a large number of stipendiaries?

Yes, I have seen these important statements, and we have investigated them in so far as details are given, but despite our efforts I have not a great deal of evidence which would warrant me in proposing to amend the law.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider fun fairs a useful counter-attraction to the pubs?

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing a special poster calling attention to the law and to the necessity of taking care not to serve young children?

Is it not the case that the young people are following the example of their elders, and if the old people will keep out of the pubs the young people will?