The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has responded to the 2015 Manifesto published by the All Party Group on Alcohol Misuse.

The Group, which is a forum for MPs and peers sympathetic to the policy objectives of alcohol health campaigners, has set out a 10-point list of measures they would like to see imposed by the next Government. It includes minimum unit pricing, health warnings on alcohol labels and new powers for local authorities to prevent the opening of new off licences.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This is a familiar health campaigner’s wish-list of heavy handed regulatory interventions. It is a shame that this report portrays such a one sided picture of alcohol consumption patterns, omitting to acknowledge the decline in consumption of alcohol, especially among young people, and reduced binge drinking. This is due to a host of positive changes in behaviour, supported by industry initiatives like Community Alcohol Partnerships and city centre management schemes.”

On proposals to restrict off licence numbers, James Lowman said: “Artificial controls on the number of new licences in an area will stop investment by responsible entrepreneurs who should be able to earn the right to sell alcohol by demonstrating high standards rather than being subject to an arbitrary limit on licences. We support the removal of licences from irresponsible operators. There is no credible evidence that more off licences leads to more alcohol harm.”