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Alcoholic Drinks: Retail Trade

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans his Department has to restrict the means by which business may promote alcohol consumption. (281267)

The Government have introduced legislation to establish a new code of practice for alcohol retailers. This will ensure that all alcohol retailers sell alcohol responsibly, by banning irresponsible promotions which encourage excessive drinking and can lead to crime and disorder.

The legislation for the new code of practice in the Policing and Crime Bill is an enabling power, which will allow the Home Secretary to set out a small number of national mandatory licensing conditions which could apply to all alcohol retailers. It will also give licensing authorities more power to tackle local problems which occur in many town centres, allowing them to impose a more detailed set of conditions on two or more premises at the same time, in an area experiencing particularly high levels of alcohol-related nuisance and disorder.

Ministers have not yet taken any final decisions on the content of the mandatory code but some of the measures we are consulting on include:

banning offers like “all you can drink for £10”;

outlawing pubs and bars offering promotions to certain groups, such as “women drink free” nights;

banning staff dispensing alcohol directly into customers’ mouths;

requiring that consumers are able to make informed choices when they buy alcohol; and

requiring bars and pubs to offer smaller measures available for customers who want them.

We are holding a series of meetings with key stakeholders, including representatives of local government, enforcement agencies and the general public about the content of the code.

Details of the consultation can be found at: