So Friday is the big day. In a highly anticipated wedding, not only in the United Kingdom but the world, there is some controversy if pubs and drinking establishments will be allowed to stay open longer and be a bit lax on the rules in the UK. Some will and some won’t as the nation prepares for a four day Bank Holiday where drinking is expected to go up a notch.

Early responses from the 44 licensing boards north of the Border show some are refusing to get in line with plans in England and Wales to award additional drinking time to pubs on Friday, April 29 and the following weekend.

Fife, the area where the couple met while at St. Andrews University, has decided against a blanket extension and said individual premises would have to make an application if they wanted an extra hour, meaning students at William and Kate’s alma mater are likely to have an earlier curfew than most other areas of the UK.
In England and Wales, the liquor laws allow the Secretary of State to make a special order relaxing licensing hours and allowing premises to be open for a longer period than that authorized by their local licensing authority.

In Glasgow, where the curfew for pubs is normally midnight, the board is considering an extra hour on both nights but is waiting for feedback from police.

According to a report from the Herald Scotland, a spokeswoman said:

“Glasgow’s Licensing Board is considering the possibility of granting licensed premises in the city an extra hour’s opening on the day of the Royal wedding. A decision will be taken following discussions with Strathclyde Police.”

The number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK has increased since the early 1990s, rising from the lowest figure of 4,023 (6.7 per 100,000 population) in 1992 to the highest of 9,031 (13.6 per 100,000) in 2008. In 2009 the number of deaths fell to 8,664 (12.8 per 100,000).

There are more alcohol-related deaths in males than in females. Male rates more than doubled over the period from 9.0 per 100,000 in 1992 to 18.7 per 100,000 in 2008, although the rate was lower in 2009 at 17.4 per 100,000.

There were steadier increases in female rates, rising from 4.6 per 100,000 in 1992 to 8.7 per 100,000 in 2007 and 2008. The rate decreased slightly in 2009 to 8.4 per 100,000. In 2009 males accounted for approximately two-thirds of the number of alcohol-related deaths. There were 5,690 in males and 2,974 in females.

Also in the Herald report, Patrick Browne, chief executive of the SPBA is quoted stating that although it was only an additional hour on two nights of the year it would give the ailing industry a shot in the arm:

“I think this situation illustrates the need for a mechanism where we can have extended hours where there are events of national significance like a Royal wedding. We’ve written to the 44 boards and the responses have been mixed. While some recognize the significance they still want people to apply and spend £10. Those boards still to decide should give additional flexibility so pub customers can enjoy the wedding celebrations like those around the rest of the UK.”

Sources: The United Kingdom Office For National Statistics and The Herald Scotland

Written by Sy Kraft