UK: U-turn on alcoholic drinks promotion ban
There is not enough evidence for blanket bans on alcoholic drinks promotions in retailers, Scottish Government officials have said, forcing a u-turn by authorities in Scotland's capital city.
Edinburgh Licensing Board has reversed its proposal to implement the ban, according to a drinks industry source who attended a meeting between the Board and Scottish Government officials this week.
Robert Millar, clerk to Edinburgh Licensing Board, told the meeting that Edinburgh will not be proactively pursuing "irresponsible promotions" such as 'buy-one-get-one-free' and 'three for two' in the off-trade as previously advised.
Restrictions on alcoholic drinks promotions are a key part of the ruling Scottish National Party's plan to tackle alcohol-related harm in Scotland.
However, Government officials are understood to have said at this week's meeting: "Ministers do not believe that this policy [restrictions on irresponsible promotions] can presently be generally extended to off-sales promotions in the absence of any concrete evidence to suggest that purchasing a large quantity of alcohol in an off-licence is linked to immediate consumption and to binge drinking."
Specific bans can still be requested by police, officials and the public and these will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
"We welcome confirmation that Edinburgh will not be pursuing off-trade promotions in the way they had previously suggested," a spokesperson for the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said.
"Their original interpretation of the rules was grossly unfair to shoppers and retailers and out of line with Government guidance. We're pleased commonsense has prevailed."
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