Government to consult on below-cost

28 July, 2010

The government has launched a consultation on proposals to reform the Licensing Act, including the ban on below-cost sales of alcohol planned for the autumn.

Other measures already outlined by the government are plans to make it easier for local communities to influence licensing decisions – originally proposed by Labour – and tougher penalties for selling to children.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The benefits promised by the 24-hour drinking café culture have failed to materialise and in its place we have seen an increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents and drink-fuelled crime and disorder.”

Wine & Spirit Trade Association spokesman Gavin Partington said: “The WSTA supports a ban on selling alcohol below the level of duty and VAT and we are keen to work with the government on this issue to ensure any future legislation does not discriminate against any particular section of the drinks industry.

“We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate on licensing laws but it’s worth remembering that local authorities and police already have substantial powers to refuse and remove licenses from problem premises.

“We hope any changes in this area focus on tackling problem drinkers and premises and don’t add unnecessary costs and burdens to the vast majority of responsible consumers and businesses.”




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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