We on these benches don’t believe in meekly allowing market forces to shape our lives. We believe in the power of local democracy to provide us with a better quality of life – at work, at home, and in our local communities.
This means pushing for greater community control of our area, and where the private sector exists, directing it towards the public good and greater social harmony, instead of putting profit over people.
The proposals in this licensing policy are groundbreaking ones which have been welcomed by our residents in extensive consultation.
They give Councillors who serve on our licensing committees the tools that they, as elected members, need to make sure our High Streets are diverse places with a high quality offer, instead of Brent being overrun with off licenses where there are already associated problems. In doing so it will boost public health, reduce alcohol related ambulance calls, and tackle alcoholism and ASB by moving drinking towards supervised, on licensee premises. In short, they will make us one of the first Councils to adopt a cumulative impact policy for new off licenses.
The proposals will make Brent a leading borough in licensing terms by introducing minimum pricing as an optional tool where committees have found licensees to be in violation by selling to underage customers, drunk people, or persistent street drinkers, shaping the market for alcohol in favour of responsible license holders who respect the public good in their local areas.
They introduce guidance to Councillors to favour diverse provision from off licenses, using the power of local democracy to examine and favour the quality offer of new premises as they pop up.
They put in place the encouragement necessary to support the development of Brent’s varied night time economy, in line with the efforts of the Mayor of London, and to boost the role of many new High Street businesses in supporting Brent as the 2020 Borough of Culture, in fitting with the rest of Labour’s platform in this borough.
I commend the statement to the floor and call on members to support our proposal – a rebalancing of power towards local communities and towards the compliant businesses who contribute the most to the area, its people, their culture and their wellbeing. The statement is fresh, radical, and rooted in local concerns, a practical and local demonstration of how we can use democracy to bring about real change.
The policy can be viewed in full at item 18 here.