BBPA: alcohol code based on flawed logic

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Home secretary jacqui Secretary jacqui smith Jacqui smith Alcoholic beverage Rob hayward

Hayward: code will lead to job losses
Hayward: code will lead to job losses
The trade group tells Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that new restrictions on how licensees sell alcohol will be met with disbelief by many — and will accelerate pub closures.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has been told in a strongly-worded letter that plans for new restrictions on how pubs sell alcohol defy logic.

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) boss Rob Hayward has written to the Home Secretary saying her claims that closures and job losses at pubs are effectively a price worth paying "will be viewed by many with open disbelief".

The letter refers to plans for a mandatory alcohol retailing code, which would see pubs forced to abide by strict conditions such as a minimum standard of training and stocking 125ml wine glasses.

The letter points to estimates that inflicting the code will cost the trade millions. For example, £116m for training and £3.1m for stocking new wine glasses.

"These costs will affect all hospitality businesses, regardless of whether they are responsible or irresponsible."

Hayward questioned the need for the cost while six pubs are closing per day and pub companies and brewers are being put in administration.

"The inevitable consequence of such a measure, as acknowledged by the Government, will be to push more pubs out of business and more people out of work."

Hayward also questioned why Smith flagged up drinks promotions such as all-inclusives in a debate on the code in Parliament. He said there is no reference to these in the KPMG study into how the trade sticks by its voluntary codes.

"Indeed, the data in the KPMG report relating to promotions shows the incidence of what the report defines as irresponsible promotions generally among the sample (414 high street locations) to be extremely low - amounting to only about 2% of premises.

"This data raises questions as to whether such evidence is sufficient to support proposals for mandatory regulatory intervention."

In Parliament, Smith noted the "potential for significant transitional costs including job loses and the closure of small businesses" due to the code.

Hayward said: "For Government to suggest that further job losses and small business closures in our sector are effectively a price worth paying for this mandatory code will be viewed by many with open disbelief."

The £1,100 Bad Boy tax​.

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