Progress On Agreed Actions
A Childhood Free Of Alcohol
1 We will issue a public consultation on potential alcohol marketing restrictions in 2021; proposals will be aimed at protecting children and young people in Scotland. We will ensure that children and young people's views inform our consultation proposals and that their views on alcohol are listened to and influence wider Scottish Government policy, including on alcohol visibility.
Work is ongoing to develop proposals for our alcohol marketing consultation in 2021. The Children's Parliament report on An Alcohol-Free Childhood will directly influence our proposals, as will the Young Scot Health Panel's report on alcohol marketing, published in November 2020. In both of these reports, children and young people told us that alcohol is too visible, and advertised too heavily and recommended that we take action to restrict this. We are also working with partners on how best to seek the views of children and young people around our specific consultation proposals.
2 We will continue to work with COSLA and local authorities to support strategies to reduce the nuisance and disorder often associated with public drinking and to protect our children and young people, including the use of alcohol byelaws.
We welcome the Children's Parliament's interest in drinking alcohol in public and agree that public drinking can have negative effects on the quality of life for residents. However the rules around drinking in public spaces are made by councils through local alcohol byelaws. Therefore, the decisions regarding whether or not people can drink in public spaces or parks would be for individual local authorities, and not for Scottish Ministers to make.
There have been some extra regulations in relation to public drinking and the COVID-19 pandemic. These are exceptional circumstances rather than day-to-day business, and this national approach would not be appropriate in 'normal' times.
However, officials have been in touch with COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) about this and they have suggested that the Children's Parliament write directly to Cllr Stephen McCabe, COSLA Children and Young People spokesperson, asking him if there is anything he can do to raise awareness of the Children's Parliament report on An Alcohol-Free Childhood, and to ensure that the concerns around public drinking from children are fed into local authority engagement processes.
Additionally, officials raised the issue of public drinking and children not feeling safe at a meeting with the Scottish Community Safety Network, who work with Community Safety Partners/Local Authorities etc. on community safety matters, including antisocial behaviour. They have not been involved in any issues in relation to children's safety with public drinking. However, they were aware of the Children's Parliament report on An Alcohol-Free Childhood which discusses "every child has the right to grow up safe from alcohol harm".