Implementation of minimum pricing for alcohol: guidance

The guidance on the implementation of minimum unit pricing for alcohol is primarily for sellers of alcohol and enforcement authorities in Scotland.

Section 4: Enforcement

Licensing Standards Officers

1. Across Scotland, Licensing Standards Officers ( LSOs) should strive to take a similar approach to the implementation of minimum pricing.

2. Their role is clearly defined in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 [16] , and is broadly separated into the following parts:

  • Provision of Guidance in relation to Alcohol Licensing to interested parties


  • Monitoring compliance with the conditions of a premises licence and other requirements of the Act.

3. The implementation of minimum pricing will result in an additional mandatory condition appearing on every premises licence in Scotland. That new condition will specify that alcohol must not be sold on the premises at a price which is less than the minimum price specified by the Scottish Ministers.

4. LSOs will be available at your Local Authority to explain what this condition will mean for your business, and to assist with guidance in relation to complying with the condition. However, the holders of premises licences should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure alcohol is only sold on licensed premises in accordance with the terms of a premises licence.

5. LSOs will keep records of compliance and non-compliance in the course of their normal duties (see Annex C).

What to expect

6. It is likely that you may be contacted by your local LSO in the period prior to or shortly after implementation. This may take the form of an inspection visit.

7. During an inspection visit the LSO will expect to see clear pricing information for every alcoholic product offered for sale on the premises. This information should include both multipack and single article prices where a multipack product can be split for individual sale on the premises. This information can be provided in whatever format suits the retailer - price lists, shelf prices, till prices etc.

8. You should bear in mind that clear pricing information is required to be provided to customers at all times in compliance with the Price Marking Order 2004 [17] . Advice on these requirements is available from your local Trading Standards office.

9. LSOs have the power to enter and inspect licensed premises [18] in order to establish compliance with the premises or occasional licence and any other requirements of the 2005 Act. The 2005 Act places a duty on licence holders and those managing and working on premises to co-operate with and assist the LSOs in the performance of their functions and to provide any information or documents requested by the LSO. If the licence holder fails to assist or obstructs the LSO, they would be guilty of an offence and would be liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

What do I need to do?

10. As a retailer holding a premises licence, you will have to check alcohol content and prices of each alcoholic product that you sell. You must do this prior to 1 st May 2018.

11. Additional staff training may be useful to ensure that all members of staff authorised to make sales of alcohol are familiar with the new law and the revised conditions of the premises licence.

There will be no period of grace allowed for the implementation of minimum pricing.

12. If you discover that any alcohol products that you sell are being offered for sale at a price that is less than the minimum price, then you must change the price or remove the product from sale.

13. If changing the price, you should bear in mind the requirements of the mandatory condition in relation to "Price Variations" [19] when making changes to the prices of an alcoholic product.


14. Premises licence holders, premises managers and staff working on licensed premises have a responsibility to ensure the conditions of the premises licence are being complied with at all times.

15. Failure to comply with the conditions of a premises licence could have serious consequences for those responsible for the failure. Where the LSO considers there has been a breach of licence conditions, the LSO has the power to issue a notice to the licence holder [20] and if the notice is not complied with make a referral to the Licensing Board for review of the licence [21] .

16. Although the LSO is there to assist in securing compliance with the conditions, it is ultimately your responsibility to seek professional legal advice if you do not understand what is required.

Police Scotland

17. Police Scotland fully supports the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol, and will continue to work closely with the licensing trade and relevant partners to fully support them throughout this period of implementation.


Back to top