Supermarkets Face Cheap Drink Promotions Crackdown

New plans have been drawn up by Ministers to crack down on alcohol off-sales. Yesterday’s announcement is a move, which will prevent supermarkets displaying cheap drink promotions throughout their stores.
But the Executive was criticised for imposing the new restrictions instead of tackling the wider problems of alcohol in Scottish society. That wasn’t the end of the criticism either as Health campaigners laid into its “patchwork” approach after it emerged ministers had decided to allow local licensing boards to choose whether to enforce the changes rather than making them mandatory.
Earlier in the year rough plans were made for a radical re-structuring of off-sales in Scotland . This move would have meant shops having to completely separate alcohol and food to the extent were special drink-only tills would be needed in every off-licence and supermarket . They also considered imposing the change across Scotland, without exception.
However, yesterday’s decision made through the Executive consultation on licensing showed that ministers have decided against such drastic action.
Before the new plans can be enforced local licensing boards must adopt them voluntarily. The necessary changes will mostly affect supermarkets, with exemptions excusing most small off-licences.
The Scottish Executive released this statement through its spokeswoman: “We are not targeting a particular group of people, this is all about trying to effect a long-term cultural change towards alcohol.” She said ministers felt that supermarket promotions, when spread throughout the store, encouraged shoppers to buy alcohol when that was not the original intention of going to the shop .
In agreement the deputy finance minister, George Lyon, described the new regulations as “substantial progress” in reforming Scotland’s licensing laws. He added, “It aims to balance the needs of the licensed trade for a modern and responsive licensing system against our wider aims to change our cultural attitude to alcohol to reduce health problems and anti-social behaviour”.
The Executive wants to introduce these thorough changes to amend the Licensing Act, passed by the parliament last year. The focus of the act was on pubs and on-sales, cracking down on drinks promotions and happy hours.
Yesterday’s announcement represents the first steps towards similar restrictions on off-sales . The main suggestion made by ministers is for retailers to enforce the age limit of 18 on alcohol sales by requesting for a proof of identity card from any youngsters who want to buy alcohol .

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