Give councils bigger say on booze licences

WE are pleased to hear Leeds councillors praise the Yorkshire Evening Post's attempt to highlight the problems relating to alcohol in the city.

Not because we want to blow our own trumpet, but because it means they recognise the need to address the issues raised by our exclusive reports.

Our week-long look at problems relating to booze revealed they cost Leeds taxpayers nearly 450m in just one year.

But while it's obviously important to highlight these issues, it achieves nothing if they aren't then tackled by those with the power to do so.

It's therefore heartening that members of the council's health scrutiny board are calling for more control over licensing in order to tackle problems linked with booze.

For too long bars and supermarkets have been able to obtain licences simply by ticking boxes laid out in current legislation, giving them free rein to then sell drink at crazily low prices.

We have seen the unfortunate results of that lax legislation, particularly in student areas of our city.

Now the emphasis is on the Government to give local councils the ability to make decisions based on local circumstances rather than centrally-set guidelines.

Up to now it has been retailers who have held the upper hand and it is high time the balance was redressed.

In the meantime, attempts to educate people as to the impact of alcohol abuse must be redoubled.

The costs – both to our health as individuals and to the city as a whole – are too high to ignore.

Simply Daw-some

MATT Dawson knows a thing or two about achieving the truly remarkable.

It was his pass to Jonny Wilkinson that saw England seal the Rugby World Cup, while his try helped the British Lions to a famous series win in South Africa.

Now the Question of Sport team captain is climbing out from behind his desk to support someone who puts even his achievements in the shade.

Matt recalls meeting Leeds mum Jane Tomlinson and marvelling at her phenomenal courage and determination.

Now he wants to be part of the legacy she left behind by signing up to this summer's Jane Tomlinson Leeds 10k run.

The event, now in its fifth year, has gone from strength to strength.

Matt will be a fine addition to its field while ensuring it keeps the high profile it deserves.

Nutty choice

SWISH restaurant Leeds Seventeen is branching out by offering squirrel to diners.

The dish won't be to everyone's taste, but it's certainly a novel way to keep down the creatures' numbers.

Presumably though the Alwoodley eaterie has put an advisory note next to it on the menu.

Warning: May contain nuts.