New Home Office figures have revealed that under-18s are not being punished for buying alcohol.
Just six children were found guilty of buying alcohol in a shop or licensed premises in 2006, the lowest number of prosecutions in five years.
The figure was released by Home Office minister Vernon Coaker in response to a Parliamentary question.
Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said that the revelation "undermined" recent proposals to raise to 21 the legal
age to purchase alcohol in off licences.
"Enforcement across the board against young people is basically non-existent and until they see consequences for their actions their behaviour will not change," he said.
He added: "The figures beg the question as to why we should be raising the drinking age to 21 if the authorities won't take action against those who are breaking the current age limit."