ALMR Press Notice
Monday 5 September – immediate
ALMR urges stricter controls on off-trade
In response to a report today from the charity Alcohol Concern the ALMR calls again on Government to introduce new stricter controls on off-trade alcohol sales including tight conditions on promotions, display and even hours.
The Alcohol Concern report looks at the relationship between the number of off-licences in an area and the health impact on under-18s. It seeks government-funded research into the relationship between alcohol harm in young people and alcohol outlet density, a new health objective in the Licensing Act and a system for measuring alcohol-related harm in hospital patients.
Commenting on the report, ALMR chief executive, Nick Bish, said:
“Around 70 per cent of all alcohol bought is now from supermarkets and shops – with a significant proportion of this sold at irresponsible pocket-money prices. This report, therefore, comes as little surprise to the ALMR and is recognition of the part that off-trade premises also have to play in selling alcohol responsibly.
“We hope the health community and government will continue to recognise that the vast majority of pubs and bars – where consumption is supervised and food is increasingly part of the offer – are part of the solution to tackling alcohol issues, and not a problem.”
Bish also highlighted the lack of power that councils currently have in controlling the sale of alcohol in the off-trade, compared to the amount of controls the on-trade faces.
“Local authorities already have the power to limit and control the number of licences in an area – on and off – through cumulative impact policies,” he added. “What they don’t have is the power to control where, when and how alcohol is sold in a shop, the same way they can for pubs. It is that which needs addressing rather than arbitrary caps on a market.”
The ALMR is continuing to campaign for stricter controls on the off-trade alcohol, as the new licensing controls will leave shops and supermarkets largely unaffected. Currently, there is nothing in the Licensing Act stopping local authorities from introducing conditions on store promotions and sitings.
Notes for editors:
– Examples of the types of off-trade controls that could be applied include: restrictions on bulk or wholesale volume purchases; a ban on irresponsible promotions and use of price in advertising; alcohol to be only sold in certain aisles.
– Sainsbury’s recently admitted in a national newspaper article that, alone, it sells the equivalent of 87 pints of beer a second. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/aug/29/britons-rediscover-taste-for-beer
– The government’s proposed ban on below-cost selling has yet to be introduced and would not stop the vast majority of cut-price drink deals currently being offered in the off-trade.
Contact: Nick Bish on 07831 778993
Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers
9B Walpole Court, Ealing Studios, London, W5 5ED
tel: 020 8579 2080 or fax: 020 8579 7579 or mob: 07831 778993
Registered office – as above. Registered in England & Wales No: 3964186
– Michael Kheng