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News

Retail Trade Association Reacts To Queen's Speech

British Retail Consortium : 26 May, 2010  (Company News)
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill has come under scrutiny from the BRC with respect to alcohol proposal after the Queen's Speech on Tuesday
Reacting to Tuesday's Queen's Speech, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has commented on the alcohol proposals within the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: "Irresponsible drinking is a complicated issue with deep seated cultural causes.

"Retailers are investing heavily in initiatives to tackle the problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption, such as Challenge 25, providing significant funding to Drinkaware and rolling out the Department of Health's voluntary alcohol unit label on thousands of own brand products.

"Supermarkets have the best record of any type of outlet in preventing under-age sales. That's not driven by the scale of the penalties. Persistent offenders already face tough sanctions with the threat of losing their licence being the ultimate price to pay. We don't need even more legislation. What we need is effective enforcement of the current laws, including those aimed at under-18s trying to buy alcohol.

"Charging more for late-night licences sends the wrong message - it says individuals need not take any personal responsibility for their actions. That's because retailers and responsible customers will be made to pay for the irresponsible behaviour caused by a small minority.

"Below cost selling is simply not the widespread practice portrayed and defining it is a complex issue. If the Government is determined to pursue legislation we would want to ensure it applies sensibly and bears in mind the impact on the vast majority of consumers who buy and drink alcohol responsibly.

"Competition law prevents retailers discussing their pricing and promotions with each other. Should the Government want to pursue changes to the pricing of alcohol, we're happy to discuss this with politicians, but they must provide a safe environment in which this can happen."
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