Scottish Alcohol Plans

Changes in the law are proposed after criticisms of government plans.

The Scottish Government has received criticism from the body that represents the legal profession over proposals that would give police blanket powers over alcohol sales.

The Law Society of Scotland has already attacked Government plans to close law courts , make changes to legal aid and overturn the legal principle of corroboration.
Now the body has spoken out against recommendations by ministers to give police powers to shut premises selling alcohol near football stadiums when games are about to take place.  It said extending powers would unfairly discriminate against a large section of the population, could even impact upon weddings and are unnecessary.
Capital licensing chiefs have also rejected the plans to extend certain areas of the 2005 Licensing Act, while lobbyists representing major supermarkets said there was no causal link between where alcohol is sold and where disorder occurs.  The Wines and Spirits Trades Association (WSTA) said there was a risk that match day bans would become permanent fixtures and prevent trade on 30 days per year in areas without any previous crowd trouble.
However, Alcohol Focus Scotland said it was a proportionate response.  The group, largely funded by the Government, said this move would have only a small impact on the number of licensing hours operated by premises.
Simon Stephens, Director of Casework at Addictions UK said, “Whilst it could be seen as in the public interest to prevent public disorder through binge drinking prior to football matches it seems naive to think that changing opening hours in local shops will prevent people from drinking before games.”  He added,  “Those people intent on drinking will do so with the greatest of ease.”
For more on this story see Gerry Braiden’s article at Herald Scotland.
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