Tough new laws to fight drunkenness and anti-social behaviour in major towns and cities are set to devastate rural life, a Midland MP has warned.
Peter Luff ( Con Mid Worcestershire) told Ministers village halls, local shops and traditional travelling circuses could all be forced to close.
He was speaking in the House of Commons following a meeting with representatives from 13 village halls across Worcestershire, earlier this week.
The Government ' s Licensing Act means village halls must pay up to £500 to serve alcohol, and one resident must volunteer to be the licensee, making them responsible for every event where drinks are available.
The Act, which also places new restrictions on offlicenses and any event providing entertainment, gives police and local councils more powers to close or fine venues which cause problems.
But Mr Luff, leading a House of Commons debate, told MPs: "Villages in every corner of the country will be saying goodbye to the traditional touring circus, seeing more village shops go to the wall, watching local sports clubs forego much-needed income and losing their village halls, despite the fact that no accidents, no antisocial behaviour, in fact nothing remotely worrying has occurred in, outside, or even remotely close to, them."
He added: "There has never been a riot at a circus - which doesn't offer alcohol to its audience anyhow.
"A village shop, which doesn't offer entertainment to its customers, has never been the cause of a drunken rampage."