New Alcohol Code to be Introduced
New Alcohol Code to be Introduced this Year to Call Time on Binge Drinking Culture
Mandatory Licensing Conditions designed to reduce binge drinking culture in England and Wales will come into force later this year according to a recent Government announcement.
Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, is still to confirm the final details of the Code. However it is designed to tackle drink related crime and disorder that is estimated to cost the United Kingdom between £8 billion and £13 billion per year.
Pub owners who breach the Code could face extra conditions, the risk of losing their licence as well as fines of up to £20,000 and even 6 months in prison.
The new mandatory conditions will include the following:-
- A ban on ‘irresponsible’ promotions such as “all you can drink for £10”, woman drink for free deals, speed drinking competitions and “Dentist’s Chairs”.
- Ensuring that free tap water is available.
- Ensuring that all those who sell alcohol check the identity of anyone who looks under 18.
- Ensuring that establishments make available a choice between a single and double measure of spirits and a small and large glass of wine.
However a ban on the bulk discounting of alcohol by shops and supermarkets that led to Police complaints that lager is being sold more cheaply than water has been dropped from the Code. The Government did admit that there were issues (around rock bottom cheap alcohol) but has rules out a compulsory minimum pricing in England and Wales by stating “it would not at this stage be sensible”.
It is believed that the Code is to be introduced in two stages during this year. The first stage will come into effect on 6th April and will cover the ban on promotions, drinking games and the provision of free tap water. The second stage will come into effect on 1st October, and will cover issues relating to smaller measures and age checks.
Licensing Partner Daven Naghen commented as follows:-
“For many this Code is considered long overdue. Licensees should make sure that they are fully aware of the new codes as and when they come into force. If Licensees do not comply with the Code, as well as running the risk of losing their Licence they could also face criminal prosecution (and a possible large fine and/or jail sentence).”
For further details on the new Alcohol Code please log on to our website for updates.