ALMR: Welsh councils "have options" to tackle problem drinking

By James Evison

- Last updated on GMT

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls: Welsh councils should use existing powers
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls: Welsh councils should use existing powers

Related tags Wales

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has said Welsh local authorities already have powers to tackle problem drinking, following the decision to block minimum unit pricing in the principality.

The ALMR was responding to the news that the Welsh Assembly's desire to introduce a minimum price of 50p per alcoholic unit has been blocked by Westminster.

Central government, though, has said alcohol licensing is connected to the police, which is controlled by Westminster - yet the issue has been pushed on an amendment to the Wales Bill, but was rejected by the House of Commons.

Work with pubs and bars

However, the ALMR has said Welsh local authorities should work with pubs and bars to use existing powers to tackle issues of alcohol-related harm, rather than ask for new ones.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We recognise that there are concerns around pricing, particularly around off-trade alcohol that can be bought at very little cost and consumed away from supervised premises such as pubs, bars and nightclubs.

Minimum unit pricing is a very blunt tool and we do not believe that it would have had the intended effect of tackling problem drinking in Wales.

“The IEA stated that it believed the risks of introducing a minimum unit price would outweigh any benefits.

Wales have concerns

If local authorities in Wales have concerns, they already have sufficient powers to address them, in both the on and off-trade, and should look to use them.

Figures from the IAS show that around two thirds of alcohol is bought through the off-trade and consumed away from licensed premises.

“If councils in Wales are concerned about any perceived health harms related to alcohol consumption, they would be best placed to avoid any measures that promote the responsible consumption of alcohol in a supervised environment and do more to promote it in favour of unrestricted off-trade alcohol.”

Related topics Legislation

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