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Scottish booze promo curbs imminent

Published:  28 August, 2009

Scottish consumers should brace themselves for a shock when they attempt to buy alcohol from retail outlets next week, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has warned.

New legislation, that comes into force on September 1, will make the buying of beers, wines or spirits before 10am illegal under Scottish law.

Alcohol displays will not be permitted in shop foyers or with food, but will be confined to designated alcohol aisles.

Some licensing boards have threatened to pull the plug on 3 for 2 and 3 for £10 promotions if deemed "irresponsible" under the new rules.

Just last week the WSTA won a partial concession on the strict new legislation that had initially advocated a blanket ban on all cheap booze promotions in shops.

Officials agreed that the new policy - aimed at tackling binge-drinking - should not extend to off-sales promotions without solid evidence that they worsen the situation.

Next week's changes come ahead of the Scottish Government's planned Alcohol Bill later this year which, according to the WSTA, will introduce further restrictions on shoppers wishing to buy alcohol.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "It's bound to take time for Scottish consumers to get used to the new rules on alcohol sales but it's important they appreciate what stores can and can't do.

"We hope that Scottish Ministers, properly concerned to tackle those who are drinking excessively, will consider the impact of new rules on responsible consumers before ploughing ahead with yet more legislation on alcohol."