Pubs don't benefit from binge drinkers

THE chairman of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain - which has two bars in Ipswich - said it had become socially acceptable to binge drink.Tim Martin said: “It is not socially unacceptable to go on a binge - that's the problem.

THE chairman of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain - which has two bars in Ipswich - said it had become socially acceptable to binge drink.

Tim Martin said: “It is not socially unacceptable to go on a binge - that's the problem.

“Although it is often perceived that pubs benefit from these sorts of occasions, it is our experience that they are often bad for the pub trade, since they are difficult for pub staff to deal with and can be intimidating for the majority of customers.”

Earlier this week, Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, announced regulations under which a pub or off-licence would lose its licence if it was caught selling to under-18s twice in a three-month period.

This followed the introduction of extended licensing in 2005.

In Wednesday's budget, Chancellor Alistair Darling is planning to raise taxes on spirits for the first time in a decade.

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But JD Wetherspoon insists that clamping down on under-age drinkers will not solve the problem of anti-social behaviour.

“Even if you stopped every 16 and 17-year-old going into pubs, you would not stop binge drinking,” said Mr Martin.