Scots retailers face display controls

The Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee has approved plans to crack down on the display of alcohol in stores.

The laws, which have been widely condemned by retailers and trade bodies, will be attached as conditions to new-style personal and premises licences coming into force on Sept 1 2009 as part of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

Retailers will have to display alcohol - including chillers - in one designated

zone, and will only be able to change that area through a licence review.

The laws will usher in an end to cross-promotion of food and alcohol in Scotland. Retailers will not be able to display alcohol in food areas, or sell food within the BWS area.

But they will be allowed to sell soft drinks in the BWS area.

There will be no restrictions on the types of product displayed in an area inaccessible to the public - for example, behind the counter.

In a briefing note, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association - which lobbied against the changes - said there was no effective evidence base for the move and it was disappointed by the decision.

Scotland's Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is

set to make an announcement in the new year outlining whether the new laws give the Scottish Executive power to set minimum alcohol prices.

The WSTA has argued that forcing shops to have minimum prices would breach European competition laws.

Policy adviser Stephen Hogg said: "The question is whether the powers are proportionate. They have to be careful not to have disproportion in the market place. We'll have to wait and see."

An MSP is calling for the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to be licensed

similar to alcohol. Christine Grahame has launched a consultation to gain support for her plans for a positive licensing regime for tobacco. She hopes to bring

a private members' bill before