Retailers in Scotland are still facing disruption due to the new alcohol licence regime despite a concession over personal licences by the Scottish Government.

Concerns over a backlog in unprocessed personal licence applications has led to the authorities today extending the deadline for stores to trade legally without a personal licence holder from September 1 to November 1, as long as the designated premises manager has submitted an application to the relevant licensing board.

However, under the new Licensing Act, all sales staff have to have received at least two hours training by an accredited training provider or a personal licence holder. With many stores likely to opt for in-house training, the delay in processing personal licences means that retailers may not have time to complete the training before the new legislation comes into force at the start of September.

Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) chief executive John Drummond said:
“Whilst this will resolve some timing issues, small shops still run the risk of being unable to sell alcohol on 1st September, as the provisions included within the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (Transitional Provisions) Order 2009 do not apply to training.

“Many small shops were relying on their personal licence holder to train additional members of staff. It is both unreasonable and impractical to expect retailers to have to meet the costs and inconvenience of arranging external training at short notice, in the holiday period, and when demand for this type of training is at an all time high, simply because a licensing board has not allocated significant resources to this process. SGF will continue to make representations to the Scottish Government on this matter.”