Last month the government revealed its proposed mandatory code for alcohol retailers. While most of the conditions are aimed at pubs and clubs and particularly the 'all you can drink' deals there is still a strong indication that all retailers of alcohol will be under increased control and scrutiny in future.

The key term that directly affects retailers is a call for mandatory age-checking policies. While this should pose no problem for the many c-stores which already carry out Challenge 21 or 25 schemes on a voluntary basis, making them compulsory creates yet another opportunity for the authorities to catch retailers out.

We believe that responsible neighbourhood retailers are not the cause of alcohol misuse but, with the right support, they can be part of the cure.

With an election looming, now is the time to engage the support of politicians of all parties for a clampdown on imported, counterfeit and duty-avoiding alcohol, and to renew our call for real enforcement of the existing law to prevent adults buying for children.