Skip to main content

Alcoholic Drinks: Children

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to tackle underage sales and irresponsible promotion of alcohol. (158418)

[holding answer 15 October 2007]: We have carried out two tackling underage sales of alcohol campaigns (the most recent of which included a 10 week operational phase which concluded on 13 July) through which police and trading standards officers have targeted 2,683 potential problem premises that break the law by selling alcohol to under-18s. Prior to this, we carried out four national alcohol misuse enforcement campaigns (AMECs) between 2004 and 2006.

In 2004, the overall test purchase failure rate was 50 per cent. In 2006, it had dropped to 20 per cent. In this latest and more targeted campaign it now stands at 15 per cent overall.

Nearly 9,000 test purchase operations were carried out on 2,683 premises in the recent national tackling underage sales enforcement campaign. Children were only able to obtain alcohol in 14.7 per cent of cases. Only 22 actual premises (0.8 per cent of premises targeted) sold alcohol to children on three separate occasions. These figures again signal further improvements in the reduction of the test purchase failures since the national enforcement campaigns began three years ago, Through ‘Safe. Sensible. Social. The next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy', the Government are committed to carrying out an independent review of the relationship between alcohol price, promotion and harm, and following public consultation, will consider the need for regulatory change in the future, if necessary. This review is being led by the Department of Health and has gone out to tender. We anticipate publishing the review's findings in the summer of 2008. In addition, the Government are also committed to carrying out a review and consultation on the effectiveness of the alcohol industry's Social Responsibility Standards document in contributing to a reduction in alcohol harm, and following public consultation, will consider the need for regulatory change in the future, if necessary. We anticipate launching the public consultation in November 2008.