Promoting Responsible Community Retailing by Lobbying, Communication, Networking and Advice.

Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

Scottish Grocers’ Federation Comment on Launch of Scottish Labour Alcohol Commission

Commenting on the range of alternative proposals to be considered by an Alcohol Commission, launched by Scottish Labour today, John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation said,

On a mandatory ‘Challenge 25’ scheme:
“SGF members already run age verification policies in their stores. Responsible retailers know they have to develop a robust sales prevention policy and a comprehensive approach to staff training. They accept that if they fail in their responsibilities they face tough sanctions, but we expect this to be matched by a commitment from politicians, police and communities to support shops in their challenging frontline role.”

On alternative pricing mechanisms:
“We need to see the detail of alternative pricing mechanisms. However, SGF would strongly oppose any plans which grant powers to local authorities to raise local taxes. Inconsistent implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act from area to area created additional costs and burdens for small shops at the worst possible time. Exposing retailers to a similar fiasco would be totally unacceptable. If new taxes are to be introduced this must be done at a national level and must be supported by a compelling evidence base.”

Better enforcement of existing legislation:
“Existing licensing laws already put in place a strong structural framework to address alcohol misuse. Until current legislation is fully enforced SGF believes there is little to be gained from creating additional legislation.”

Restrictions on advertising to protect children:
“Retailers should be able to communicate promotions to their adult customers in a responsible manner. For small independent convenience store retailers window bills and promotional leaflets represent the only realistic method of advertising their special offers or promotions whilst large operators can afford radio, national newspapers and TV advertising which are not within the remit of the Scottish Parliament. SGF is concerned restrictions on advertising could have a disproportionate impact on small shops. Any restrictions on advertising material relating to alcohol should apply across all forms of media or not at all.”

On the need for a joint approach on measures that will help to tackle the over-consumption of alcohol John Drummond said,

”SGF would support a closer partnership between the Government, police, local authorities, alcohol retailers and the alcohol industry in order to encourage a collaborative approach to fostering a culture which recognises that responsible, moderate consumption of alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle.”