The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has hit out at draft Government proposals covering the selling and promotion of alcohol.
The draft code of practice, from the Department of Health and the Home Office, proposes a ban on promotions such as happy hours, “free drinks for women” and “all you can drink” offers.
It also includes draconian rules on drinks labelling, free tasting sessions, noise levels and the training of staff.
But the BBPA said the proposals go too far, citing examples such as banning waiters from pouring wine directly into the glass without measuring the amount.
Mark Hastings, director of communications at the BBPA, said: “If this Mandatory Code just banned free drinks for women and other irresponsible promotions we would have no objections at all. In fact it would have our full support.
“However, it goes far broader and deeper than that. It introduces a host of detailed regulations on the way every licensed business in Britain should be managed and run on a day-to-day basis, with all the accompanying enforcement and record keeping.”
Hastings warned that the proposals will affect the entire leisure, tourism and hospitality business in the UK - hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, historic houses, tourist attractions and late night food outlets.
“While the Prime Minister and Chancellor are busy trying to resuscitate the economy, it seems perverse that the Home Office and Department of Health seem intent on burying it in a blizzard of unnecessary red-tape,” he said
“They already have the power to put whatever mandatory conditions they choose on any particular licence. This allows them to target the problem venues rather burden everyone.”
The BBPA outlined some of the other proposals in the Draft Code of Practice:
- Every restaurant table and hotel room will have to have a detailed sensible drinking sign
- Twice a year, every licensed business has to meet with the police and licensing authorities (that’s 400,000 meetings a year – 33,000 police working days a year, according to the BBPA)
- Every historic house, tourist attraction, hotel and kebab shop must count the number of people coming in and keep records
- You can’t just pour wine from a bottle into a glass in a restaurant – (“under no circumstances must drinks be provided in such a way that the amount of alcohol cannot be measured by both serving staff and customer”)
By Daniel Thomas
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