A leading licensing lawyer has spoken out against a mandatory code of practice which could be imposed on the drinks industry next week.
The government is expected to announce a new raft of regulations on Monday which could include the banning of happy hour promotions and drinking games, and the requirement that cigarette-style medical advice be printed on all bottles.
The drastic measures are an attempt to tackle binge-drinking, and will see local councils and the police given the powers to enforce the new restrictions.
Jeremy Phillips, of lawyers Francis Taylor Building, said: "In recent years licensees have been greatly hit by a number of increased regulations that have come into force.
"The code of practice due out next week will impose a further layer of unnecessary regulation, and with it added pressure, on the leisure industry.
"The licensing legislation that is already in place contains many sanctions for the small minority of licensees who operate irresponsibly. The 'review' of a licence, which may be applied for at any time, by any person, can and should solve most of the problems identified in the proposed code of practice.
"The further level of red tape that is now threatened is, in my opinion, both unnecessary and, in the present climate, potentially very damaging to this important but fragile sector of our economy.
"The government's focus should be on using and enforcing the regulatory powers that are already in place."