While retailers in England and Wales are making the most of extended alcohol licences, Scottish shopkeepers are to have two hours cut from their permitted licensed trading time.

A last-minute amendment to Scotland’s Licensing Act, which is due to come into force in August 2009, means retailers will only be able to sell alcohol from 10am-10pm, with no option to extend their hours.

However, details of the Act for pubs and clubs remain unchanged and on-trade premises can still apply for a 24-hour licence. The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) says the change is due to political wrangling and doesn’t address problems such as binge drinking.

SRC director Fiona Moriarty said: “The SRC demonstrated in evidence to committee that we are responsible retailers, but parliament has chosen to ignore this. Restricting hours for the off-trade wrongly implies that retailers are directly responsible for alcohol related problems.”

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