Government consultation on alcohol sales and promotion launched.

Home Office has today announced a new consultation entitled ‘Safe.
Sensible. Social. Selling alcohol responsibly.’

Available here. (pdf 1mb)

The proposals include:

  • a mandatory code of practice for pubs, clubs and supermarkets

  • banning promotions such as ‘all you can drink for £10’, speed drinking competitions

  • and ‘dentist’s chairs’ – where alcohol is dispensed directly into the mouths of customers

  • making sure bars, pubs and clubs offer single measures as well as doubles for spirits, and both small and large glasses of wine

The Home Office are also suggesting that alcohol retailers
display information about the alcohol unit content of drinks, and
supermarkets and convenience stores display information on the health
impacts of alcohol.

New secondary conditions are proposed to target problem
areas. These conditions will give local councils more power to take
actions including:

  • restricting happy hours or pub crawl promotions

  • banning irresponsible bulk buy promotions

  • enforcing the Challenge 21 policy – where anyone who looks under 21 must produce proof of age to buy alcohol

  • banning glass containers altogether, or ensuring that glasses are collected

  • making door staff check for weapons and drugs during times when alcohol-related crime is most likely to occur

The Home Office make clear that they do not support a
minimum unit price: “We have decided not introduce a minimum unit price,
as it would unfairly punish the sensible majority of responsible
drinkers. However the consultation commits to conducting further
research into the issue.”1

The Prime Minister yesterday unveiled the plans saying:
“The police and other agencies have a wide range of powers to tackle
pubs, bars, clubs or shops whose customers are causing trouble. They can
add new licensing conditions and even shut premises down.

“To support them in using these powers, we are going to
bring in a new mandatory code on the sale of alcohol – not, as some have
asked, bringing in a minimum price, which would punish the majority of
responsible drinkers – but to tackle binge drinking, targeting the kind
of promotions like ‘Drink all you can for a fiver’ which can turn some
town centres into no-go areas.” 2

The public, licensing authorities, public health bodies,
alcohol retailers and trade members are asked for their input on the
proposals. Response forms are available here: