SGF chief attacks Salmond plans

04 September, 2008

The Scottish Grocer’s Federation says plans for new legislation on alcohol and tobacco will cost the convenience store sector millions of pounds despite the absence of compelling evidence they will work.

Chief executive John Drummond criticised pans outlined by First Minister Alex Salmond to ban sales of alcohol to under-21s in the off-trade and introduce minimum pricing.

He said the moves would “establish ridiculous anomalies, penalise the majority of adults who drink responsibly and increase the burden of regulation and costs for legitimate responsible business”.

He added: “We are all aware that Scotland has a complex relationship with alcohol which must change.

“However, the First Minister appears determined to implement measures which the SGF believes are unfair, unworkable and damaging to business.”

Her said that a tobacco display ban would “encourage greater numbers of smokers to turn to illegal channels to purchase tobacco”.

But Drummond welcomed an announcement by Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill to reintroduce the “fit and proper person test”, giving police the power to comment on the suitability of potential licensees.

“Alcohol in the hands of the wrong person can be a dangerous product,” Drummond said. “It is important that the police have the ability to comment and share information on an individual who they believe would not be an appropriate person to hold a licence.”

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