ALMR welcomes action on below-cost sales

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Below-cost alcohol sales Executive nick bish Licensed multiple retailers Drinking culture

Bish: welcomed proposals on below cost sales
Bish: welcomed proposals on below cost sales
But the trade group warns against increased regulation under the plans announced by the new Government today.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has welcomed the Government's plan to ban below-cost alcohol sales and review alcohol tax.

However, the trade group warned against plans to increase regulation on pubs, which could undermine efforts to tackle binge drinking by increasing the price at the bar.

ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: "We are delighted that the Coalition Government has made tackling pocket money prices a priority.

"Such prices give the alcohol industry as a whole a bad name and do responsible operators no favours. The ALMR has been campaigning on this issue for some time and made a ban on below cost selling top of our shopping list when we briefed the parties ahead of the General Election."

Other plans announced by the Government today include granting greater powers to revoke licences, doubling maximum fines for underage sales to £20,000 and charging an extra levy for late-night operators.

Bish added: "We have heard a lot of talk from the Coalition Government about partnership and compromise, about big society and civil liberties and above all about great repeal bills.

"Pubs are also part of that debate and we expect to play a full part in it - you cannot on the one hand talk about removing unnecessary regulation and offences and then go straight back to the old style controls on the licensed retail trade.

"Both parties pledged to save the pub during the Election campaign - now is the time to deliver on that not strangle it with more red tape"

Meanwhile, the British Beer & Pub Association welcomed the review of alcohol tax.

"For too long, the existing tax regime has unfairly punished British pubs and responsible drinking. A new tax system that recognises beer as a low-strength, British-produced drink will be a major step forward in helping to ensure that pubs continue to play a vital role in the social and economic life of communities up and down the country," said communications director Mark Hastings.

"We also welcome the measures to tackle irresponsible promotions, under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour, which can build on the major strides forward made by the industry itself over recent years.

"The review of the Licensing Act is a good opportunity to highlight the many positive things that have happened as a consequence of the Act, dispel some myths about what the change was and is intended to achieve and focus on some improvements that can and should be made so the Act works better for both communities and business.

"As one of the most regulated sectors, the beer and pub industry strongly welcomes the commitment to reduce regulation and red-tape from businesses, and we look forward to working with the Government to enhance the contribution we make to Britain's economic recovery."

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