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Alcohol Sales

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what controls the licensing regime imposes on the sale of alcohol to minors via (a) fast food delivery outlets and (b) shopping purchases online. (82121)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: Since 24 November 2005, it has become an offence to sell alcohol anywhere to a person under 18. There are no longer any exceptions.

Under the new licensing regime, we have:

made protection of children from harm a statutory objective of the Licensing Act 2003;

introduced fixed penalty notices for selling to children, and for purchase or attempted purchase by children, and these offences apply equally to mail order or internet purchases;

increased the fines fivefold for offences of selling to children, from a maximum of £1,000 up to £5,000;

ensured that personal licences can now be lost for a first offence;

ensured that premises licences, including those for a fast food outlet or a mail order or internet company, are subject to review for such behaviour, with temporary closures, reduced hours and licence revocation if necessary;

brought forward the Violent Crime Reduction Bill with proposals for a new offence of persistent selling to children and a power to close offending retailers; and

created powers by which premises licences can be made subject to conditions restricting or prohibiting the presence of children.