SGF (Scottish Grocers’ Federation) believes plans for new legislation on alcohol, outlined by the First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, in his statement on the Scottish Government’s Programme for the year ahead, should be put on hold following the recent chaos surrounding the full implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
SGF Chief Executive John Drummond said:
“The convenience store sector in Scotland invested millions of pounds to ensure they complied with the regulations included in the new Act. However, retailers are still waiting for licensing boards to issue personal and premises licences despite some applications being made as far back as April 2008.
“It has been apparent for some months that many licensing boards where in disarray over the issuing of licences and policy relating to off trade promotions. Requests made by SGF for the Scottish Government to intervene and end major uncertainty by issuing unambiguous guidelines to the Boards were steadfastly refused, adding to the turmoil.
“We are all aware that Scotland has a complex relationship with alcohol which must change. We are committed to working with the Scottish Government to achieve this, however, the First Minister must allow time for businesses to adjust to the new licensing regime before introducing further changes which we believe are unfair and unworkable and will increase the burden of regulation and costs for legitimate responsible businesses.”