Sir Simon Milton, LGA chairman, said changing the way people view alcohol “will take years, possibly decades of concerted action across the board”.
His comments accompanied the launch of an LGA report in which two thirds of police forces and Primary Care Trusts said there had been no change in alcohol-related disorder and injuries since the introduction of the 2003 Licensing Act.
Milton said: “There needs to a wide-ranging national debate about how freely available alcohol is, how the nation views social drinking and how we can go about reducing consumption.”
He added the problem would not be addressed by “one simple piece of legislation”. Local councils were already feeling the financial strain of implementing existing laws, the LGA claimed.
Policy makers in England and Wales are watching events in Scotland, where ministers recently unveiled a range of proposals to tackle alcohol misuse – including a ban on off-trade sales to under-21s and minimum prices.