Pubs should not have to protect customers' health

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags License Beer Supermarket

The government has admitted it should not be an "overriding objective" for licensees to protect the health of their customers and acknowledged the...

The government has admitted it should not be an "overriding objective" for licensees to protect the health of their customers and acknowledged the majority of alcohol is now drunk in the home.

The points were made in the Department of Health's response​ to a hard-hitting report on alcohol from the Health committee.

MPs had called for a public health objective in the Licensing Act.

But rejecting the recommendation, the government said: "It is not necessarily clear that it is reasonable that all licensees should have an overriding objective to protect the health of their customers, nor is it clear how they could give effect to such an objective.

"In particular, licensees have no control over consumption away from licensed premises and in people's homes where the majority of alcohol is now drunk."

The Health committee made a host of recommendations in its January report, including a fresh call for minimum pricing and a change to EU rules to allow higher duties on strong wines and beers.

However, ministers are still shying away from the idea of minimum pricing to tackle cheap supermarket prices.

The 46-page response said the government was still "developing the evidence base in this area" and research will be finished by the end of this month before its "next steps".

It also said there was no "conclusive evidence" that where alcohol is positioned in supermarkets causes social problems.

On the call for higher duty rates on strong beers and wines, the government said it was "constrained" by EU tax rules and would only "consider" its position on the issue.

"Any changes to EU alcohol taxation must be agreed unanimously by all Member States," it said.

The government also ruled out a ban on pre-watershed alcohol advertising.

Related topics Health & safety

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