Time for reform? Alcohol policy and cultural change in England since 2000



Nicholls J (2012) Time for reform? Alcohol policy and cultural change in England since 2000. British Politics, 7 (3), pp. 250-271.

Throughout history, alcohol policy has been tied to ideas of cultural change. In 2000, the New Labour government proposed deregulatory legislation that was designed, in part, to change British drinking cultures. However, implementation of the subsequent 2003 Licensing Act coincided with developments in alcohol retail and drinking behaviours which created widespread public concern. Government alcohol policy was also criticised by public health advocates who rejected the model of cultural change which underpinned it. Focussing on England and Wales, this article considers how an emphasis on culture-change outcomes undermined the political success of New Labour's alcohol policy; how media responses reinforced problematic ideas around British drinking culture; and how public health policy lobbying on alcohol has exposed a marked political divide over the role of legislation in shaping public attitudes and behaviours.

licensing; alcohol; New Labour; Coalition; public health; culture change

British Politics: Volume 7, Issue 3

FundersThe British Academy
Publication date30/09/2012
Publication date online11/06/2012
Date accepted by journal11/06/2012
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

People (1)


Dr James Nicholls

Dr James Nicholls

Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Health Sciences Stirling