Trade chiefs' bid to block full pint law

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Trade leaders are claiming victory in a campaign to persuade MPs that legislating for a full pint would be unworkable.A delegation from the...

Trade leaders are claiming victory in a campaign to persuade MPs that legislating for a full pint would be unworkable.

A delegation from the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA), led by chief executive Tony Payne, met with DTI minister Kim Howells MP in advance of the June 30 closing date for responses to the government's Consumer Affairs white paper.

Payne said the meeting was "very positive", and that the minister had seemed to understand the argument that any legislation should follow the 95 per cent liquid minimum recommended by trade bodies.

"The minister understood that the trade is not saying that we wouldn't serve a full pint, just that in the real world there needs to be that five per cent tolerance," he added.

The delegation has also met with Dennis Turner MP, whose Private Member's Bill calling for a full pint failed due to lack of parliamentary time, but was taken up by the government for possible inclusion in forthcoming consumer affairs legislation.

"We believe that Mr Turner also took our argument on board," said Payne.

Whether the government legislates for 95 per cent liquid or a full pint, lined pint glasses could be a legal requirement as soon as the end of next year if a new Consumer Affairs Bill is announced in the Queen's Speech in November.

Short measures in pubs were included in the wide-ranging consultation exercise after the publication of the consumer affairs white paper last year.

The government was responding to "rip-off Britain" charges suggesting that UK consumers face short measures and higher prices for everything from new cars to groceries.

DTI spokesman Richard King said: "There has been a great deal of speculation following the end of the consultation period.

"We can't pre-empt the Queen's Speech, so we can't confirm that consumer affairs legislation will be introduced in the next session of Parliament, let alone say if it will include a weights and measures element."

The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA) already advises pubs to serve a pint containing at least 95 per cent liquid, a recommendation the FLVA has passed on to its members.

However, some publicans have argued that regional tastes should be taken into account, with customers in many areas preferring a pint with a frothier head.

A BLRA spokeswoman said: "We're hopeful that the government will follow the 95 per cent recommendation in any legislation."

Related topics: Legislation

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