RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Scottish alcohol shoppers face big changes

Scottish consumers face big changes in how they can buy alcohol from shops, as new licensing rules come into force today (September 1) .

The new rules mean:

• Customers will not be able to buy beers, wines or spirits before 10am
• Displays of alcohol will no longer be permitted in shop foyers or with food; they will be confined to designated alcohol aisles
• Some licensing boards have threatened to ban promotions such as 3 for 2 and 3 for £10 if they decide these are 'irresponsible'

Evidence from retailers suggests the 10am threshold for alcohol purchases is most likely to inconvenience pensioners who prefer to shop when stores tend to be quieter and parents accustomed to shopping after completing the school run.

Customers used to purchasing alcohol alongside food offers will find from Tuesday that they will only be able to purchase beers, wines or spirits from specific alcohol aisles.

Retailers are currently seeking clarification on possible action against promotions such as 3 bottles for £10 or 3 for the price of 2, following incidents in which local enforcement agencies have suggested stores might have to withdraw them.

The changes come ahead of the Scottish Government's planned Alcohol Bill later this year which will introduce further restrictions on shoppers wishing to buy alcohol.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "It's bound to take time for Scottish consumers to get used to the new rules on alcohol sales but it's important they appreciate what stores can and can't do.

"We hope that Scottish Ministers, properly concerned to tackle those who are drinking excessively, will consider the impact of new rules on responsible consumers before ploughing ahead with yet more legislation on alcohol."

1 September 2009 - Felicity Murray