Scottish minister takes hard line on discounting

15 June, 2007

Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill has warned of a clampdown on "irresponsible" promotions and discounting on drinks.

In a statement delivered to the Scottish Parliament on June 6, MacAskill said: "If the buy-one-get-one-free approach is unacceptable in our pubs, why should it be acceptable anywhere else?"

He also said tackling under-age drinking was a priority for the country. "Licensees already have clear obligations. We expect them to comply or face the consequences," he said.

The Scottish Grocers' Federation is urging the Scottish

Executive to wait for the country's licensing act to be introduced before employing heavy-handed tactics towards drinks retailers.

The Scottish Licensing Act

is due to come into force in 2009 and the SGF said it should be given time to "bed in" before threatening another crackdown on retailers.

SGF chief executive John Drummond said the sector was already demonstrating responsible retailing by introducing Challenge 21 and

automatic till prompts for age-restricted products, and made a fresh call for a proof-of-age scheme to be introduced. He said: "The missing link is a national proof-of-age card for all 15 to 25-year-olds.

"Retailers have smartened up their act, it is time for the Scottish government to do the same."

The legal purchasing age for cigarettes and tobacco in Scotland will be raised to 18 on Oct

1, bringing legislation in line with England and Wales.

Public health minister Shona Robison said she hoped raising the age would discourage young people from taking up smoking and help make Scotland a healthier place. The SGF said more needed to be done to lessen any potential conflict between retailers refusing tobacco sales and under-age smokers.

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