Ealing to join under 21 scheme

Yesterday the Evening Standard was reporting that the Mayor was keen on a Croydon scheme to stop under 21s buying drinks at off-licences.

Today they are reporting that a number of other councils are up for it too, including Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and our own Ealing.

Council leader Jason Stacey said: “It is a great idea and we hope as many off-licences as possible sign up to the scheme. I hope it will reduce binge drinking among teenagers.”

I need to declare an interest as a licencee myself but this really is a good idea. Having young people drinking lots of cheap booze at home or in the park isn’t good for anyone. Licensed premises are typically managed and there is a certain discipline enforced by the landlord, even in the worst pub chain managed premises – compared to ten youths clustered around a park bench or on a street corner.

A 21 age limit in off-licences also makes booze way more inaccessible to under 18s.

6 replies on “Ealing to join under 21 scheme”

Why should 18-20 year old adults with the legal right to buy alcohol have their rights restricted in this way?

If the problem is that off licenses are prepared to sell drink to those under the age of 18 already, how will raising the age help?

Is there any evidence of how well Croydon’s scheme has worked or is this just an ‘eye catching initiative’?

What happened to asking for ID and not serving people who can’t produce it? Why should shops and off licenses abide by a voluntary code like this when, apparently, they are happy to sell to the underage?


You are quite right that we should properly enforce existing laws. In Ealing we do a lot of this, for instance see here. One of the problems with teenage drinking is that often it is older young people that buy booze for underage people. No amount of policing of off sales will eliminate that problem. But, by pushing the age of the people who can buy booze further away from that of the problem drinkers it should limit their access.

I did most of my early drinking in pubs and clubs and I suspect I moderated my intake as a result. Firstly, booze is more expensive in pubs and clubs. Secondly, you mix with a broader range of people in pubs and clubs which tends to be a moderating influence on people’s behaviour. Finally, it is a managed environment where you are less likely to go too far.

Licensed premises are managed and in my mind are a more appropriate place for starter drinkers than a park bench, street corner, Tube train or a mates house. In my business I often refuse young people drinks where they are in danger of having too many. They don’t like it but they usually have more fun that way.


This answer to a written question says differently:

“2005/6: 76 alcohol test purchases (59 to off licences; 17 to pubs/clubs); 9 sales

2006/7: 85 alcohol test purchases; 10 sales

2007/8: 106 alcohol test purchases; 10 sales”

According to these numbers last year only 10 test purchases out of 106 resulted in a sale.

See full document here.


It’s obvious that you don’t have any teenagers. Mr Leach is absolutely right and you live in CLOUD CUCKOO LAND ! WAKE UP AND GET REAL for pity’s sake! Most problem drinking and assocated anti-social behaviour connected with young people and alcohol comes from liscenced premises and always has done. If you’ve got to your age in life and don’t know this you’ve led a sheltered life!

Many 15/16/17 year olds regularly indulge in illicit consumption of alcohol in Ealing’s public houses 52 weeks of the year. It’s not hard. All they need is fake ID. You obvipusly Spend too long in the town hall listening to bureaucrats. GET A LIFE!


You might have read the actual post. If you had done you will learn that I am a licensee – I run a bar. I deal with lots of young people most of whom are full of fun and are well behaved. There are always a few pushing the limits but they are safer and will be normed quicker in licensed premises.

A well run licensed premises is a safer place for a young person to be than a park bench with a plastic bag of cheap booze – both of these are accessible with a bit of front and fake ID.

Eric is too polite to tell me I live in cloud cuckoo land. You on the other hand might get some manners.

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