Introducing alcohol-only checkouts in UK retailers will not help to tackle drinking abuse, says the industry.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has warned that any move to create separate checkouts would be a waste of time.

Citing data from the Morrisons supermarket, which has separate alcohol checkouts in 12 stores, WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: "The evidence suggests separate checkouts actually increase sales of alcohol.  Why inconvenience ordinary consumers with a policy that isn't going to work anyway."

Ministers in both Westminster, London and up in Scotland are considering alcohol-only checkouts in supermarkets as part of a comprehensive strategy to tackle drink-related crime and health problems.

There is a growing consenus in the industry that the government will take action in the off-trade.

Retailers have been lambasted by several politicans, police and health professionals for selling alcohol too cheaply, and in some cases selling beer cheaper than bottled water.

It is understood that ministers in Westminster have been consulting with top economists on the possibility of a minimum pricing scheme, although it is not yet clear how such a scheme could work, or whether it would be introduced.  

Industry leaders say the government should focus on enforcing existing legislation in order to tackled alcohol abuse and harm.