Retailers in attack on 'confusing' code

12 December, 2008

Scottish grocers stand up to licensing board

The Scottish Grocers Federation has blasted a "confusing" draft code of practice from South Ayrshire licensing board.

The board, which is seeking support for its code from licensing boards across Scotland and the Scottish government, lists eight types of irresponsible promotions in the draft.

These include BOGOFs, reductions in prices for larger volumes and offers relating "specifically to alcohol likely to appeal largely to persons under the age of 18".

SGF chief executive John Drummond said: "The Scottish government held a consultation specifically looking at measures to tackle alcohol misuse, which sought views on a number of issues, including promotions.

"While SGF appreciates local licensing boards need to provide innovative responses to address local issues, on this occasion it is less than constructive of South Ayrshire Licensing Board to pre-empt the Scottish government's proposals arising from the consultation, which are due to be published in early 2009," he added.

"However well-meaning, inconsistent regulatory structures in force in pockets across the country threaten to confuse operations for retailers and result in additional bureaucracy."

Drummond said SGF members were committed to changing Scotland's drinking culture and pointed to their adoption of Challenge 25 and recording of refused sales in a refusal register.

South Ayrshire licensing board said on its website that it felt there was little definition of irresponsible promotions for off-licences.

It said: "We are also concerned that the fourth licensing objective of "protecting and improving public health" is not being addressed by the many in the off-sales trade. Accordingly, the board has drafted a new code of practice for off-sales premises and now wishes to open the draft for consultation."

The consultation will end on Jan 31. If you would like to comment, email: licensing@south-ayrshire.gov.uk.




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