The Association of Convenience Stores has broadly welcomed the publication of the Health Committee’s report into the government’s Alcohol Strategy. MPs have called on the government to scrap plans to bring in a ban on multi-buy promotions and a sunset clause that would allow for the removal of minimum pricing rules if they prove ineffective.
ACS does however express concern about the way MPs dismiss efforts made by a range of alcohol companies including a number of businesses operating in the convenience sector to take meaningful action to tackle alcohol related harm through the Responsibility Deal initiative. The commitment to remove a billion units from the alcohol sector was made in March 2012.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “ACS welcome the Committee’s report and their focus on ensuring proportionate, clear and evidence based alcohol policy. MPs are right to highlight the flaws in the Alcohol Strategy’s plans to outlaw multibuy promotions. We hope that Ministers will listen to this report and abandon these unworkable proposals.
“It is however disappointing that the Committee have under-valued the contribution the industry is already making to tackling alcohol harm. Our members have been part of a pledge to reduce alcohol consumption by one billion units through re-formulating products and changing ranges and promotions. This is significant and should be recognised as such.”
ACS submitted evidence to the Committee as part of their inquiry, calling on the Committee to recommend the removal of plans to introduce a ban on multi-ban promotions, and urging MPs not to recommend further measures that further burden retailers.
The government’s Alcohol Strategy was published on 23 March 2012 and included proposals to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol, a ban on multi-buy promotions, and several significant changes to the Licensing Act 2003. The Home office plan to consult each of these, and ACS will respond to each in due course.