Government to limit alcohol discounting

The Government is set to ban “all you can drink” promotions in pubs and bars and impose limits to bulk buying discount alcohol in supermarkets. The sweeping reforms were announced following the Queen’s Speech today (December 3).

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Health Secretary Alan Johnson set out the plans as part of a 4.5m crackdown on alcohol fuelled crime and disorder.

The Government says it intends to introduce a new mandatory code of practice to target the most irresponsible retail practices. It follows an independent review, which found that many retailers are not abiding by their own voluntary standards for responsible selling and marketing of alcohol.

The code will set out compulsory licensing conditions for all alcohol retailers and will give licensing authorities new powers to clampdown on specific problems in their areas.

The Government will consult on a range of compulsory conditions including: banning offers like ’all you can drink for 10’; outlawing pubs and bars offering promotions to certain groups, such as women only; ensuring that customers in supermarkets are not required to buy very large amounts of a product to take advantage of price discounts; and requiring bars and pubs to have the minimum sized glasses available for customers who want them.

Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships are being awarded a 3m cash injection to target enforcement activities on specific alcohol-related problems in 190 areas across all police forces.

In addition, 1.5m will go towards tackling underage sales, confiscating alcohol from under 18s and running campaigns to tell people what action is being taken to successfully reduce alcohol related crime and disorder in their local area.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says: “There is no simple solution to tackling this problem – we all have a responsibility to tackle the binge drinking culture.”

The Government consulted over a mandatory code in July this year. It also commissioned an independent review of the effects of price and promotion on alcohol-related harm.

The review findings suggest that changes to how alcohol is priced and promoted could deliver reductions in health harms, crime and absenteeism from work.

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