With your help, we will continue to show how responsible c-store retailers are an ally in the authorities' battles to keep alcohol away from children. We will campaign for a multi- faceted solution, involving education, prosecution of adults who buy for children, and a huge crackdown on unlicensed traders and illicit stock distorting the market. We hope to persuade Trading Standards to recognise the pressure store staff work under, while encouraging all store owners to drill staff to avoid the kind of mistakes that can give good retailers a bad reputation.
Duty on alcohol looks certain to continue to rise under any administration, not just at the current 2% annual escalator rate, but with extra tax hikes, too, particularly on super-strength drinks and alcopops we've already seen evidence of this in the recent Budget. The industry's concern is that pricing the legitimate supply chain out of the market will drive consumers to illicit sources, leading to a drop in duty revenue. Therefore, we will need to see evidence from a new government that it will crack down with the full force of the law on the illegal trade.
Two strikes and you're out for underage sales (two incidents in three months)
Stores must operate an age-verification policy l Tougher enforcement campaigns (powers to confiscate alcohol from children, but also more rigorous test purchasing) l
Local councils to be given powers to enforce blanket restrictions on areas rather than individual premises
Duty rises of 2% above inflation, with higher hikes for cider.
A maximum £20,000 fine for sales to under-18s. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling says: "There are still too many things wrong with our licensing system. We need stronger powers to ensure that retailers who systematically break licensing laws are closed, permanently.."
l A ban on below-cost selling of alcohol l Duty rises, particularly on strong ciders and alcopops
'Restraint' of advertisements
Tighter rules on granting licences and higher fees for late-night licences.
l The Lib Dems are toughest on underage sales, pursuing a 'one-strike' policy. They would also ban multi-buy promotions and push for bottles and cans to be marked so they can be traced back to the retailer.
A clue to what might be coming down the line comes from Scotland, where the Scottish National Party is looking at minimum pricing, a ban on multi-buy promotions and a ban on window posters and leaflets. Whether they will push these through remains to be seen, but the rest of the UK will be watching with interest.