Devon independent retailer Lesley Brown has received "a lecture on how to be responsible" from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in response to a letter she sent calling for support in the fight against underage drinking.
Lesley, who urged the PM to give retailers the "tools to help us do the policing you and some of the public expect" received a reply from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which laid out retailers' responsibilities under the Licensing Act. "They took two months to respond," Lesley told C-Store. "The tone was patronising and they suggested we needed reminding of the law."
A separate letter from the Home Office was more thorough. It said: "The government acknowledges that a multi-faceted approach is required: enforcement against retailers who sell alcohol to young people; reducing the demand for alcohol among under-18s; and education about alcohol."
However, Lesley felt the response was inadequate. No mention was made of her suggestion that officials spend time "in the real world" by serving in her store. "The letters made us feel the government isn't interested," she added.