One third of English pubs allowed to extend their opening hours

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Sunday, November 27, 2005 At midnight on November 24, a new licensing law concerning the opening hours of English and Welsh pubs, clubs or shops selling alcohol came into effect, allowing around 60,000 establishments in England and Wales to extend their opening hours beyond the 23.00 limit in force until then, and dating back to the First World War. About 1000 premises, among which 359 are pubs or clubs, have applied and been granted a round the clock authorization, allowing them to stay open for 24 hours.

Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, expressed hope that this extension in opening times will lower the crave for massive drinking, prompted by the early closing of establishments. The British Beer and Pub Association, in a press release from 25 November, 2005, states "The change is about treating adults like grown-ups, and giving them more choice for a social life after eleven o’clock.".

Concern has been raised throughout the media and diverse health organisations about a possible rise in violence and alcoholism due to this new law, but the first night seems to have gone well, although authorities claim that the effects can only be really measured in six months time, when more establishments have been granted extended hours and the public has become used to the new hours.