The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has today (22 January) written a letter to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith over government plans for restrictions on how pubs sell alcohol.

The strongly worded letter, written by BBPA boss Rob Hayward and seen by just-drinks, challenges the Home Secretary over her claims that closures and job losses at pubs are effectively a price worth paying, and says they "will be viewed by many with open disbelief".

The plans for the Regulatory Impact Assessment will involve a mandatory alcohol retailing code, which would see pubs forced to abide by strict conditions such as a minimum standard of training and stocking 125ml wine glasses.

The letter points to estimates that inflicting the code will cost the trade millions. For example, GBP116m for training and GBP3.1m for stocking new wine glasses.

"These costs will affect all hospitality businesses, regardless of whether they are responsible or irresponsible," the letter states.

A record 39 pubs per week are closing in the UK, up on the 36 closures per week in the first half of 2008, according to new figures compiled by CGA Strategy for the BBPA.

"Unless action is taken, a further 59,000 jobs will be lost in the next couple of years," Haywood added.