Retailers' views

Christine Franklin
Muir Lea Stores, Whitby,
North Yorkshire
I'm disappointed a minimum price for alcohol has not been included in the proposals. They're constantly moving the goalposts in favour of the big supermarket chains."

David Brunt
Londis Late Store,
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
"I've been serving alcohol for more than 24 years and I don't feel that I need any more training to do it. Having to organise other members of staff to get training will just be at a cost to me."

Michael James
Copplestone Store,
Crediton, Devon
"Mandatory training is a complete red herring by the government. It was supermarkets which started the trend of drinking before going out and now the government is penalising us for their actions."
A planned new Code of Practice for alcohol retailers could see an end to multipack deals and introduce mandatory training for staff, but falls short of preventing supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost.

The proposals, introduced as part the new Crime and Policing Bill, also place restrictions on promotions in bars and clubs and are now open for consultation.

Health minister Alan Johnson said that research carried out for the government would have to be studied in depth before any decision was made on minimum pricing. "Low-cost alcohol is clearly linked to increased consumption and harm, so I'm not ruling out taking action on cheap alcohol. However, it would be wrong to make sweeping changes without taking account of all the options suggested by our research," he said.

Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs committee, insisted a minimum price was necessary to stop supermarkets selling alcohol too cheaply. "If we do not deal with the supermarkets, which are selling alcohol as a loss leader, we will not solve the problem of alcohol-related crime," he added.

However, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman expressed concerns over the proposed Code. "It is likely to be a bureaucratic straightjacket on retailers and local authorities," he said. "For example, a Code that dictates certain training for c-store staff has the potential to be restrictive and burdensome."

He added: "We are not convinced that there is robust evidence to show that the measures to restrict the way alcohol is promoted will prevent alcohol-related harm."

British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said that controls on price and promotions would not tackle alcohol abuse. "Targeting multipacks is perverse," he said. "These are the way families buy alcohol. They are not bought by young people on a night out."