Enterprise Inns’ statement coincided with the Department of Health’s warning that it was ready to impose a compulsory code of conduct on the entire drinks industry – because the Government believes voluntary measures are not working.
The pub company issued a gloomy trading statement, referring to “double digit” volume declines for beer sales in the on-trade in the year since the smoking ban came into force.
“At the same time, the Government’s ill-conceived increase in alcohol duty will adversely impact all responsible licensees and pub goers and do little to address the much publicised problems of antisocial behaviour and binge drinking,” the statement said.
“We would once again call into question the strategy of the major supermarkets, some of whom continue to use alcohol as a traffic builder, often selling multipacks at below cost into a marketplace where consumption is almost entirely unregulated. In the absence of responsible retailing, we would expect the Government to introduce sensible legislation to address this issue.”