Retailers have welcomed the launch of the first national proof of age scheme for young people in Scotland, a move that has brought the creation of a UK-wide ID scheme a step closer.

Endorsed by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), Trading Standards, national youth information agency Young Scot and the Scottish Executive, the new PASS (Proof of Age Standards Scheme) hologram is to be placed on 300,000 Young Scot cards with the possibility of being rolled out to other proof of age cards in the future.

It follows the launch in January 2003 of the government backed PASS hologram logo on proof of age cards in England and Wales.

Retailers in Scotland will be encouraged to only accept proof of age cards that carry the hologram. At the same time, the SRC has launched a Scottish Executive funded booklet, which provides information for retail staff on the laws regarding age-restricted products, as well as guidance on valid proof-of-age cards and how to avoid underage sales.

SRC director Fiona Moriarty said: “It’s important that retail staff request valid proof of age from any young customers who want to buy age-restricted products. I urge all retailers who sell such products to use our new guidelines.”

Botterills managing director Lizette Craig, who overseas 40 Spar stores in Scotland, has backed both measures.

She said: “We already have stringent policies in place when it comes to asking for ID and carry out our own test purchasing, but anything that can be added to aid staff on top of that has to be warmly welcomed, especially if it clears confusion over what ID to accept.”

Mohammed Issa, who owns the 1st Stop to Shop store in Dundee, commented: “Anything to take pressure off store staff has to be a step in the right direction.”