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Small Shops Welcome Committee Rejection of Under 21 Off-Sales Ban

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee’s decision to reject plans which would have granted powers to local licensing boards allowing them to impose a ban on the sale of alcohol to under 21’s in off-sales.

John Drummond, Chief Executive of SGF said;

“I welcome the Committee’s decision to reject this flawed proposal. Banning the sale of alcohol in off sales to under 21’s is counter-intuitive to other Government legislation which permits an 18 year old to sell alcohol, obtain a personal licence as a designated premises manager, train others to sell alcohol responsibly and vote, marry or join the armed forces.

“During our discussions with politicians and in our written submissions to the Committee we repeatedly voiced our concerns that such a measure would have led to regional variations in the implementation of this policy. Furthermore, it could have resulted in 18 to 20 year olds travelling to a location which does not have a ban in order to purchase alcohol. It would create confusion, conflict when sales were refused in some stores but not in others and increase bureaucracy and costs for small shops in relation to staff training and customer notification.

“As Stage 2 consideration of the Alcohol Bill nears completion there are still important discussions to be held about a social responsibility levy. SGF remained concerned at the lack of detail surrounding proposals for a levy and fear it will essentially be a further, indiscriminate tax on selling alcohol, which retailers and ultimately responsible consumers will be made to pay.”