Politicians act on OLN campaign over high abv beer bans

21 November, 2014

Off Licence News’ campaign for legal clarity over the swathe of Reducing the Strength schemes mushrooming across the UK has moved up a gear with action in both Westminster and Brussels.

Last month we delivered a letter to the European Commission seeking its intervention over the schemes that have banned retailers from selling high abv beer and cider.

As part of our United to Protect Choice campaign, OLN expressed concerns the schemes were breaking competition law and retailers were being forced to participate against their will.

In a letter last week, the Commission confirmed it will consider OLN’s complaint “in the light of the applicable EU law” to decide if it will begin infringement proceedings.

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority has also agreed to attend a meeting with leading MPs at the House of Commons to address concerns over the issue. CMA chief executive Alex Chisholm accepted an invitation to discuss the schemes from Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton and chairman of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which represents 300 MPs and 75 peers.

Chisholm acknowledged the desire to “explore these schemes in more detail”, adding the CMA would be “very willing to assist by providing our perspective on the relevant competition law issues regarding these schemes”.

OLN has led the charge for legal clarity over the schemes which are now underway in over 70 towns and cities.

Has your business been hit by a Reducing the Strength ban? Let us know in confidence at getintouch@offlicencenews.co.uk

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