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Councillors recommend booze ban for council parties
The annual Brighton and Hove mayor’s Christmas party and other council-run events should become alcohol-free, a report says.
The recommendation comes from a cross-party scrutiny panel set up to examine the impact of alcohol in the city.
Other suggestions include cutting back on the proportion of large occasions sponsored by alcohol companies and encouraging a range of day and night time events which might involve drink but do not rely on it.
Alcohol-related business is worth an estimated £329 million to Brighton and Hove’s economy every year.
However there are downsides associated with the availability of alcohol, including antisocial behaviour, alcohol-related crime and its effect on people’s health – costing the city around £107 million.
The report said: “As panel members, we are all concerned that alcohol has become too central to everyday life, and that it is in danger of taking over events that do not necessarily need to have alcohol present.
“Alcohol is slowly creeping into a wider range of events including school fetes, parents’ evenings, church functions and community events, which has led to people expecting that alcohol should be available at all events as a norm.
“The council is not ‘anti-fun’ but it is important to provide a range of options so that alcohol does not always become the default.
“With this in mind, we felt that Brighton and Hove City Council should lead by example, and more actively consider the drinks offer at its own social events such as the Mayor’s Christmas party or council-organised awards ceremonies.”
The panel also highlighted the level and range of work in place at the universities of Sussex and Brighton to raise alcohol awareness issues and tackle the drinking culture. The panel recommended this work be used as an example for other organisations working with students and young people.
It said it was also important to ensure enough help was available to older people who were drinking too much.
Brighton and Hove director of public health Tom Scanlon, pictured, said he “fully supported” the recommendations in the report.
He added: “Although most council-led events do not involve alcohol, several of the larger ones do. It would be good to see the council lead by example on this and for more of the higher profile events to be alcohol-free.”
The report will be discussed at tomorrow’s Brighton and Hove health overview and scrutiny committee.
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