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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Wine & Spirit Association (WSA) has voiced its concerns over minimum pricing schemes and the presumption that 24-hour opening should not be allowed for shops and supermarkets in the Licensing (Scotland) Bill. WSA director Quentin Rappoport said: While we agree that irresponsible promotions encouraging binge drinking should be controlled, we adamantly oppose the development of minimum pricing schemes for the off-trade. Promotions on price are a legitimate commercial tool that the alcohol industry should not be deprived of. The issues of promotions in shops and supermarkets are different, because in the off-trade, there is no time limit in which to consume the alcohol bought.' The WSA opposes restricting opening hours, which would discriminate against shift workers. The WSA has also responded to consultation on alcohol advertising from Ofcom, the UK communications watchdog. It is concerned that some of the proposals are unduly restrictive', pointing out that self-regulation works in every area other than broadcasting where pre-clearance' is applied, indicating that self-regulation is likely to be more effective'. We do not think issues such as self-regulation have been sufficiently explored in the regulatory impact assessment. The trade is fully capable of coming up with detailed and practical proposals well within the timeframe set out by the strategy unit and endorsed by the Home Office and Department of Health,' said Rappoport in his letter to Ofcom. All sides of the trade are keen to see reform. We believe the best way forward is for the trade to join with Ofcom in drawing up a new series of proposals which all sides can sign up to and ensure that a new code is effective and long lasting,' he said.