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WSTA welcomes alcohol misuse crackdown measures

Published:  27 May, 2010

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has welcomed measures outlined in the Queen's Speech aimed at tackling alcohol misuse.

The new coalition Government's Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill (which only applies to England and Wales) recommends giving local authorities and the police stronger powers to remove licenses from, or refuse to grant licenses to, any premises causing problems.

The Government wants to ban the sale of alcohol below cost price, allow councils to charge more for late-night licenses to pay for additional policing and give councils the power to shut down shops and bars persistently selling to children.

The Bill also recommends that the maximum fine for selling alcohol to children should be doubled to £20,000.

WSTA spokesman Gavin Partington said: "We welcome the Government's emphasis on personal responsibility and will continue to work with the Government and other stakeholders to ensure policy towards alcohol balances the interests of millions of ordinary consumers with the need to address the issue of alcohol misuse.

"The WSTA supports a ban on selling alcohol below the level of duty plus VAT on the basis that these are both consumer taxes and therefore the cost should be passed on to the consumer.

"While the WSTA remains opposed to minimum pricing we are keen to work with Government on the issue of below cost selling to ensure any future legislation does not discriminate against any particular section of the drinks industry.

"However, we do not believe that alcohol pricing and taxation provide the solution to alcohol misuse. What's needed is education and rigorous enforcement of laws to address misuse and related anti-social behaviour."