BBPA: KPMG report calls for unlawful action

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bbpa chief executive, Law, Bbpa

Hayward: Report calls for unlawful action
Hayward: Report calls for unlawful action
The KPMG report totally ignores the Government's own evidence gathered during sting operations and calls on the industry to act above the law in...

The KPMG report totally ignores the Government's own evidence gathered during sting operations and calls on the industry to act above the law in making voluntary codes mandatory.

That is the angry reaction of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) to the report which slams the trade for "irresponsible and harmful practices" and calls for legislation to enforce the code of best practice.

In a farcical situation, a report so important to the trade has not yet been seen by trade leaders, but has been leaked to the national media first.

"We have not yet seen the report, but from extracts we have seen, it seems long on anecdotal stories and short on hard empirical evidence," said BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward.

"It totally ignores existing hard evidence from the repeated Government sting operations which have visited thousands of pubs in recent years.

"Those reports, while identifying some problems, have tracked consistent improvement in standards and high levels of good practice.

"On underage sales, this report merely says they thought some people appeared to be under 18.

"They didn't actually check whether any were."

The BBPA pointed to the following facts:

• One million people a month are being refused service because they are underage or have no ID.

• Teenage drinking rates have fallen to the lowest level for 20 years and the amount they drink is also down.

• 91% of 18-24 year olds know about the industry's Challenge-21 scheme. They say they are asked for now asked for ID much more than a year ago (32%) and find it difficult to get served without ID (30%).

• The pub sector is investing £5m a year in communicating, training and support for Challenge 21.

Unlawful

"They also criticise the industry for failing to do something that is against the law - enforce promotions standards," said Hayward.

"The Government know that while individual pub companies operate responsibility policies within their own business, it is illegal under competition law either for companies or trade associations to seek to apply or enforce agreements on promotions across the sector.

"With the economy in a precarious position, business under pressure and people feeling the pinch, now is not the time to be announcing a raft of new costs, regulations and restrictions on either business or individuals.

"The inevitable impact of such measures is to force up costs and prices and push more pubs towards penury.

"There are plenty of laws and regulations around to deal with irresponsible pubs and people.

"All agencies, including local government and the police should first focus on how to ensure these are enforced with greater rigour and consistency."

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