Retailers have slammed proposed plans for stores to have to sell alcohol from separate checkouts, calling the idea daft, costly and impractical.
The move is one of 20 recommendations set out by the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) as part of its Manifesto for Action on Alcohol, launched ahead of Scottish elections later this year.
The pressure group has written to MSPs outlining its proposals, which include the introduction of a minimum price “as soon as possible”, and heavily regulated advertising and marketing, as well as the separate alcohol till concept.
The manifesto states: “Alcohol-only checkouts should be established by law in all licensed retail outlets.”
Scottish retailers left Retail Express in no doubt about where they stand on the idea.
“Where do they get these ideas from?” said Abdul Qadar of Ramzan and Sons in Edinburgh. “Why are they trying to destroy any business we have?
“In small shops like ours, there’s barely room to even put some chewing gum out, let alone another separate till. It’s the daftest idea I’ve ever heard.”
Marco Sinforiani, who runs Sinforiani Bros in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, added: “How can I do this in a shop of 400 or 500sq ft? On Friday or Saturday nights I work on my own. How can I work two tills in the store? It would double the cost for staff and it’s hard enough as it is.
“A supermarket would be far more able to cope with it than me. They will already have a spare aisle, I don’t have the room.”
SHAAP director Eric Carlin insisted that it was not anti-retail or against business.
He said: “We want to get people to think about purchasing alcohol. It’s not the same as other products that are sold, we want people to think about if they need to buy it.”
He said the organisation had not worked out the practicalities of the proposal, but, if Holyrood agreed with the principals after the May elections, it would work to implement its plans.
“We want to work with retailers on something that is manageable for them. Generally people have been very supportive of our ideas,” he added.