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Changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol: a discussion paper on our strategic approach



The new Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 comes into effect from 1 September 2009. It provides an overhaul of the existing licensing arrangements and introduces a range of significant new measures to protect communities from alcohol-related harm. It establishes five Licensing Objectives, including, for the first time one on health. These are:

  • protecting and improving public health
  • preventing crime and disorder
  • protecting public safety
  • protecting children from harm
  • preventing public nuisance

"Promotion" means, in relation to any licensed premises, any activity which promotes, or seeks to promote, the buying or consumption of any alcohol on the premises. Schedule 3 to the Act defines a drinks promotion as irresponsible if it:-

(a) Relates specifically to an alcoholic drink likely to appeal largely to persons under the age of 18;

(b) Involves the supply of an alcoholic drink free of charge or at a reduced price on the purchase of one or more drinks (whether or not alcoholic drinks);

(c) Involves the supply free of charge or at a reduced price of one or more extra measures of an alcoholic drink on the purchase of one or more measures of the drink;

(d) Involves the supply of unlimited amounts of alcohol for a fixed charge (including any charge for entry to the premises);

(e) Encourages, or seeks to encourage, a person to buy or consume a larger measure of alcohol than the person had otherwise intended to buy or consume;

(f) Is based on the strength of any alcohol;

(g) Rewards or encourages, or seeks to reward or encourage, drinking alcohol quickly, or,

(h) Offers alcohol as a reward or prize, unless the alcohol is in a sealed container and consumed off the premises.

Paragraphs (b) to (d) apply only to drinks promotions where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises. Paragraphs (a) and (e) to (h) apply to alcohol sold for consumption both on or off the premises. Although paragraph (e) applies equally to alcohol sold for consumption off the premises, it talks about "a larger measure of alcohol" which is not a common phrase in relation to off-sales purchases.