Ministers are being urged by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) to reconsider proposed changes to alcohol licensing and pricing rules that it believes will have a disproportionate burden on small shops.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "In the past five years, we have

seen a reduction in alcohol consumption, increased consumer awareness of the

risks associated with alcohol, and new positive partnerships tackling

antisocial behaviour and underage drinking. New sweeping changes to licensing

rules and alcohol promotions will impose burdens on business and risk,

undermining the positive work underway.

“Specifically we urge Ministers not to impose the unnecessary and burdensome

ban on multi-buy alcohol promotions in off licences. This measure is complex

and will disproportionately harm smaller stores.

“The Government should also rethink changes to licensing rules, particularly

arbitrary blanket restrictions on new off licences being able to open in

communities. This is likely to impede growth and investment especially by

small businesses.

"Ministers have made clear their determination to impose a minimum unit

price. We remain concerned about the lack of detail about how this will be

implemented in practice."

ACS has played a leading role in promoting alcohol responsibility initiatives

in the industry that are making a real difference to consumption and

attitudes to alcohol in key social groups. ACS leadership role includes

one billion units by 2015, and bringing together partners at the local level to

make a real difference to binge and underage drinking in the Community Alcohol

Partnerships initiative.

ACS said it wouldl be making a full response to the Government’s consultation on these proposals.