Saturday, 16 February 2008

Growing concern over spread of under-age binge drinking across Lincolnshire

New figures show children at harm, with drink fuelling yob behaviour

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, today expressed his concern about official figures which have revealed not only a growing number of under-age drinkers are being admitted to hospital, but also that the laws against under-age drinking are not being properly enforced.

This disturbing news coincides with the report from Crime Concern which has found that “drinking to get drunk is starting younger with serious consequences to health and crime”. Almost four in ten young people now start drinking at the age of 13, and half of their parents turning a blind eye.
· Figures – unearthed by the Conservatives in Parliament – reveal that under-age children who break the law by buying alcohol illegally are not being held to account. Fewer than a hundred individuals a year are punished for trying to buy alcohol illegally.

· What is more, a growing number of children are now being hospitalised after being admitted to A&E due to alcohol misuse, with 518 incidents across the East Midlands Stategic Health Authority last year. Across the country a whole, there has been an increase of 40 per cent since 2000.
Giles McNeill said:
“Under-age drinking harms young people and fuels youth crime and anti-social behaviour. Labour Ministers talk endlessly about cracking down on alcohol-related violence, but these new figures expose the Government’s complacency.

“There are already laws and sanctions in place. The Government’s failure to enforce the law sends totally the wrong message about under-age drinking and is adding to public concern about yob behaviour and crime. We also need greater social responsibility, and an end to some parents turning a blind eye to their children’s drinking. Increasing social responsibility is at the heart of David Cameron’s plans to make Britain safer and stonger.”

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