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SGF Call For Simpler Licensing Law in Scotland

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation and the Association of Convenience have submitted a joint response to the Scottish Parliament Health Committee’s call for evidence on the new Alcohol and Public Health Bill.

 The response opposes the provisions contained in the Bill to impose further restrictions on the advertising and promotion of alcohol and to encourage Licensing Boards to make greater use of bottle marking schemes.

 If passed the Bill would become the 6th primary piece of alcohol legislation to have been enacted by the Scottish Parliament since 2009. Additionally there have been 35 secondary pieces of legislation put into effect – taken together this means it is now extremely difficult for retailers to fully understand and comply with licensing law in Scotland.

 SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said,

“We need licensing law to be simplified not made more complex. Initiatives such as bottle marking schemes provide no evidence of wrongdoing by retailers and are of no use in trying to deal with the problem of proxy purchase. It is not possible to manually and individually mark all alcohol products in store and make the marks distinctive from store to store The Scottish Parliament needs to get it right on licensing law – the burden of compliance always fall on retailers.”