Government Rules Out Alcohol Promotional Restrictions in Response to Lords Report

ACS has welcomed a Government response to a Lords Committee report on the Licensing Act, setting out its plans to tackle alcohol related harm within the existing framework of the Licensing Act.

The Government’s response is to recommendations made in a House of Lords Select Committee report on the Licensing Act which was published earlier this year.  In its written and face-to-face evidence to the Committee, ACS raised concerns that the recommendations on restricting alcohol promotions and siting in-store were a ‘blunt instrument’ that will harm all consumers instead of targeting the minority that consume alcohol irresponsibly.

In its response, the Government states that it does not intend to introduce legislation which mirrors that in place in Scotland (restricting multi-buy promotions and the location of other alcohol promotions). The response cites research which showed that ‘following the ban on multi-buy promotions, households bought alcohol on more occasions but bought fewer products per shopping trip’, suggesting that such a ban would not have the intended effect.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the Government’s response which recognises the importance of the existing provisions of the Licensing Act to tackle alcohol related harm. The convenience sector has already taken steps to reduce alcohol harm in communities through robust age restriction policies, building relationships with local trading standards officers and partnership working with organisations like Community Alcohol Partnerships and the Proof of Age Standards Scheme, and we will continue to work to ensure that stores can sell alcohol responsibly.”

The response also addresses the following areas:

  • The Government has no intention to raise licensing fees in the immediate future, as many licensed businesses have already seen an increase in their business rates bills in 2017.
  • The introduction of minimum unit pricing remains under review, subject to the outcome of the legal case between the Scottish Government and the Scotch Whisky Association and evidence of the impact of the measure if introduced in Scotland.
  • The Government does not intend to grant local authorities the powers to ban super-strength alcohol across many premises simultaneously (in line with the recommendation made in the report).#
  • The Government states that Section 182 guidance is not an appropriate means to encourage the industry to adopt promotional restrictions on a voluntary basis.

The full report is available here:

This entry was posted by Chloe on Mon, 06/11/2017 - 13:43