Scottish politicians consider alcohol display ban
Alcohol faces tobacco treatment following Children's Parliament report organised by health lobbyists
Politicians are examining whether to impose tobacco-style display bans on alcohol ranges in Scottish convenience stores.
The renewed focus is being driven by a Children’s Parliament campaign backed by lobbyists Alcohol First Scotland, who showed children material about a dog with an abusive alcoholic owner and asked the children for their views on alcohol. It then compiled their views into a report calling for: “alcohol to be sold in adult-only sections of shops, separate rooms in regular shops and supermarkets dedicated to alcohol sales.”
Commenting on the report, Edinburgh council boss Cammy Day told the Edinburgh Evening News: “If cigarettes are bad for you and we have them hidden behind screens, why are we not doing the same for alcohol?”
A retailer claimed the issue had been brought up with him by a Scottish Member of Parliament. The retailer claimed: “They’re looking at going dark with alcohol. It depends on the size of store, they’re looking at age restricted rooms like in airport duty-free shops but also at gantries.”
Family Shop Blantyre owner Mo Razzaq explained: “Having a separate section will have huge implications for small stores. A major license variation can cost £800 plus the building work, extra CCTV and extra staff. Combined with wage increases, tobacco changes, and confectionery restrictions, it feels like an unwelcoming environment for small stores.”
Ferhan Ashiq, owner of Prestonpans Village Store said the impact of minimum unit pricing before should be analysed before adding further measures.
Asked about the suggested measures, specialist licensing lawyer at Hill Brown Licensing in Glasgow, Jack Cummins responded:” We’ve become used to anti-alcohol lobbyists plundering the tobacco playbook in their efforts to demonise alcohol. So it was only a matter of time before we heard calls for tobacco-style cabinets. But in the campaign to airbrush alcohol from society there’s lots more on the shopping list. An end to billboard advertising, restrictions on social media marketing, banning ads on television, restricting cinema advertising to 18-certificate film screenings… the Scottish Government is under sustained pressure to introduce all these measures.
“If calls for separate alcohol rooms gain traction – distinct from the separate areas mandatory in Scotland since 2009 – the next move would be obvious: ban under 18s from entering the rooms.”
Scottish Grocer’s Federation head of public affairs John Lee said the concept: “crops up every two years or so” and that ministers had previously rejected the concept as unworkable. An expert in global convenience retailing said they were unaware of any other country in the world with a total display ban on alcohol.
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