The Labour Party gave the licensing reform plans high profile during the election campaign as likely to appeal to young voters and even backed this up by text messages to phones. In the usual cynical politicians' way, the plans were dropped from the Queen's Speech and now seem to be shelved for at least two years.
However responsibility for licensing has moved to Kim Howells, a Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so perhaps there's hope yet. The planned legislation is now called the Alcohol and Entertainments Bill. This shifts the emphasis from crime-fighting to leisure facilities. The Department intends to permit all-night opening for New Year 2001-2.
For a while it seemed there was a very slim chance for simpler reforms sooner (via Deregulation orders) rather than later (via a time-consuming Act of Parliament) - these might simply relax pub hours a little without all the planned reform of licensing.
CAMRA is organising a Week of Action on licensing reform for Sat. 8 - Sat. 15 September.
No sign of any move towards guaranteeing full pints.
No sign of any move till next year towards fairer Duty.
In April the Government at last responded to campaigning by CAMRA and others by offering mandatory rate relief to village pubs. Let's hope this does make a difference: at the moment six rural pubs are closing every week.