Five key changes for pubs now in force

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cigarette vending machines, Alcoholic beverage

Vending machines: now banned in pubs
Vending machines: now banned in pubs
Licensees are reminded that five important changes to the way pubs operate, serve drinks and pay their staff came into force on Saturday.

On 1 October, the ban on cigarette vending machines came into power as well as a rise in minimum wage, new drinks measures, changes in duty rates and a mandatory Challenge-25 scheme in Scotland.

Pubs wishing to sell tobacco must now do so from under the counter and anyone found guilty of displaying cigarette adverts could face a fine of up to £5,000 or face imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Cigarette vending machines are often unsupervised, making it easy for children to purchase cigarettes from them.

“The ban on cigarette sales from vending machines will protect children by making cigarettes less accessible to them — we want to do everything we can to encourage young people not to start smoking in the first place.”

Pubs can now also serve two-third of a pint “schooner” measures with several brewers including Heineken, Carlsberg and Molson Coors rolling out new glassware as part of the change. Wine can also be served in sample measures of 75ml.

Beers with an abv of below 2.8% will now also benefit from a 50% cut in duty with several new launches from Greene King, JW Lees and Carlsberg looking to take advantage of the new rate. Conversely though, beers above 7.5% will be hit with a 25% duty increase.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Lower-strength drinks like beer are better for you, according to the taxman. The Government deserves credit for nudging drinkers in this direction, and of course, all beers are low in strength compared with other forms of alcohol.

“We’d now like to see a move to raise the new threshold from 2.8 to 3.5 per cent, which would benefit many more beers, and add a huge boost to lower-strength drinks.

“And as beer is the drink of pubs, let’s not forget that a 35p tax reduction on some beers will help pubs that are struggling.”
Also, from Friday the minimum wage increased by 15p to £6.08 for adults over-21. The rate for 18-20 year olds has increased by 6p to £4.98 an hour with the rate for 16-17 year olds increasing by 4p to £3.68 an hour. The rate for apprentices has risen by 10p to £2.60 an hour.

Also, in Scotland, pubs must now ask all customers who look under 25 to produce ID as part of the Challenge-25 programme introduced under the Alcohol (Scotland) Act 2010.

Around 25,000 Challenge 25 posters have been sent out to the 5,000 pubs north of the border — 10,000 to Scottish Beer and Pub Association members, 5,000 to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and the rest will be sent to the freetrade.

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