The legal age for buying alcohol could be raised to 21 under proposals being examined by the Scottish Government.
Ministers are considering raising the minimum age from 18.
Shona Robison, the public health minister, is due to present a number of proposals later in the year. Robison yesterday said nothing had yet been ruled in or out: The Scottish Government is currently in the process of developing a long-term
alcohol strategy and as part of this we have been looking at a range of issues including availability, accessibility and age of purchase.
People in Scotland are twice as likely to die from alcohol-related deaths than elsewhere in the UK.
A West Lothian town is to become the first in Scotland to ban alcohol off-sales to people under 21.
The pilot scheme in Armadale will initially run for six weeks.
Every off-sale retailer in the town has signed up to the new scheme which means anyone who looks under the age of 25 will be asked for identification.
Those who cannot prove they are at least 21 will be denied alcohol. The aim of the scheme is to prevent people from enjoying themselves
This strategy has been tried before in the north of England. Cleveland Police introduced a similar scheme and it proved so successful in spoiling youngster's fun that it was adopted permanently.
It's a very good example of a local community including fun hating shopkeepers working together to tackle what is obviously a serious problem in many parts of Scotland. The Armadale pilot is a partnership with the local council, police and retailers.
A decision on whether it should be extended to other towns will be taken once the initial six weeks have been assessed.
West Lothian councillor Isabel Hutton backed the project: This initiative will not prevent all youths getting hold of alcohol, but I am sure it will help in reducing alcohol-related, anti-social behaviour, and that will be beneficial to the Armadale
Pc Phillip McIntosh, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: Youth disorder is often linked to alcohol, and Armadale is no different to any other town in West Lothian, or indeed Scotland, where a minority of young people can get their hands on alcohol
and often leads to anti-social behaviour. Our intention is not only to limit under-age access to alcohol but to educate those who may have been involved in supplying alcohol to children that they are committing an offence.
Under 21s will be banned from buying alcohol at supermarkets and off licences under a rights abusing plan to shake-up Scotland's drink laws.
Ministers want to stop teenagers buying cheap alcohol and believe a three-year increase in the age limit will reduce the nation's chronic drink-related violence and health problems.
A major action plan on alcohol will be unveiled by Injustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill who has waged a campaign against Scotland's drinkers since taking over the job last year.
Over-18s will still be allowed to drink in pubs and bars but ministers are said to be insistent on the need for radical reform of off-sales, arguing that "enough is enough" in the battle to bring an end to Scotland's "booze culture".
Along with the increase in the age limit, MacAskill will also propose setting minimum prices for alcohol and banning three-for-two and buy-one-get-one-free deals.
Last night, the drinks industry reacted angrily to the proposals, claiming they will "demonise and mystify" alcohol for teenagers.
The increase in the age limit to 21 for off-sales follows a pilot in the West Lothian town of Armadale where the restrictions were enforced recently.
Sources say MacAskill has also been influenced by the example of Sweden where the age limit for off-sales is 20, two years more than the bars and pubs limit.
But retailers and drinks bosses accuse him of having railroaded his plans through with no consideration for their own trade, or for household pockets, at a time when the cost of fuel and food are increasing.
Nasty Scottish Government plans to raise the age limit for buying alcohol in shops from 18 to 21 have suffered a well deserved setback after being defeated.
MSPs backed a Conservative parliamentary motion, by 72 votes to 47, rejecting the proposals.
Students who claimed the plans would demonise young people earlier staged a rally outside the Scottish Parliament.
As MSPs debated the plans inside, the Injustice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, ludicrously accused his rivals of being irresponsible.
Leading the debate, Scottish Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser told parliament: The SNP are creating a ludicrous situation whereby students cannot buy a bottle of wine or a few cans of beer to enjoy in the hall of residence or flat.
They are creating an even more ludicrous situation whereby a soldier returning from a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan at the age of 20 cannot buy a bottle of champagne from the off-licence to celebrate with his wife on his return.
Fraser said targeting 18 to 21-year-olds was discriminatory and pointed out that drink problems affected people of all ages.
Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker said it was more important to enforce proof of age cards, test purchasing and tougher sanctions for license breaches should be enforced: It is not just that the proposal is therefore in itself deeply flawed, it's
that it's part of an artifice to allow political posturing from this government on tackling under age drinking to hide the fact they are failing to invest in measures which will actually make a difference .
The Liberal Democrat Ross Finnie warned against stigmatising a generation with the plan, adding: We believe it fails fundamentally to contribute to bringing about the essential cultural change in attitudes towards sensible drinking.
But MacAskill spouted that Scotland's drink problem was running up an annual tab of £2.25bn, adding : We do need legislative change, because the status quo is unacceptable. We cannot go on as we are.
Student group NUS Scotland has joined forces with the Coalition Against Raising the Drinking Age in Scotland (Cardas), to rally against raising the age outside parliament.
NUS Scotland president Gurjit Singh, said: We hope this debate will force the government to rethink its unworkable and ill-thought out proposal.
And Green MSP Patrick Harvie hit out at the Puritanism surrounding the discussion of alcohol at Holyrood.
Salmond Staggers on with discriminatory prohibition policy
Alex Salmond is preparing to defy the Scottish Parliament and continue with his plans to raise the age for buying off-sales alcohol to 21 – despite its overwhelming rejection by MSPs.
A spokesman for the First Minister said Salmond still believed that raising the age limit was the right approach and the policy is expected to be included in legislation when it is brought before parliament, either later this year or early next.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Conservatives joined forces yesterday to vote through a motion condemning the Scottish Government's alcohol age-limit plans.
That vote is not binding on the government, but it sent a clear message to ministers that parliament will not support the proposals. Ministers had been expected to take last night's vote on board and drop the age-limit plans from a package of measures on
Pub-goers in Aberdeen are facing a drugs test before entering bars as part of a unbelievably shitty policy by Grampian Police.
Officers in the force will be the first in Scotland to use an Itemiser - a device which can detect traces of drugs from hand swabs in a matter of seconds.
The test is voluntary, but customers will be refused entry if they do not take part. They could be searched and even arrested if traces are found.
The Itemiser allows police officers or door staff to swab customers hands as they enter a pub or club. It can tell almost instantly if drugs are present - including cocaine, cannabis, heroin and ecstasy.
The device can show three possible results: green, amber or red. Customers who get a green reading are allowed entry to the pub, those who get amber are given a drug information pack and those who get red could be searched by police.
If drugs are found on that person they could be arrested and a report could be sent to the procurator fiscal.
Police said the device deters unwanted drug dealers. [and no doubt an awful lot of innocent customers]
Det Supt Willie MacColl, national drugs co-ordinator for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), said: This project offers an opportunity for collaborative working to implement an alternative intervention that will help change
attitudes and reduce demand for controlled drugs. We hope that over time the model can be developed and used by community partnerships in other towns and cities across Scotland to reduce the harm caused by drugs.
The Itemiser is already being used in pubs in England where concerns have been raised about the possibility of customers getting a positive reading simply by touching a surface where there are traces of drugs.
All alcohol advertisements should be banned in Northern Ireland in an effort to repress the region's drinkers.
The legislative assembly heard that raising the age limit for buying alcoholic drinks in off licences from 18-21 and outlawing two-for-one and happy hour promotions in bars and clubs are also among a series of repressive measures proposed by the SDLP.
The SDLP also called for a social responsibility tariff imposed on all licensed premises to ensure they contribute to the cost of policing the night-time economy.
The initiatives were outlined by Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey during a debate on the problems surrounding alcohol misuse in Northern Ireland.
Ramsey acknowledged that while some of his party's proposals could be legislated for by the Assembly others were devolved matters.
Drinkers in Oldham pubs are to be told to stand in a queue and banned from ordering more than two drinks at a time at the bar. Rope barriers similar to those used in shops and post offices will be installed to keep customers in line.
The nutter plan has been proposed following supposed concern over disorder and violence in town centre bars.
The two-drink limit is intended to so called curb binge-drinking and stop customers ordering large amounts of alcohol.
But critics say the 'nanny state' restrictions will end the convivial British tradition of drinkers buying rounds for their friends. Mark Hastings, of the British Beer And Pub Association, said: We have no problem with tackling problem drinking but
this is not the way to go about it. These measures are costly, unnecessary and totally disproportionate at a time when around 40 pubs are closing every week. People aren't going to want to drink if they have to queue up as if they're in the post office.'
Under plans drawn up by Not So Liberal Democrat-controlled Oldham Council, all 22 pubs in the town centre will have to comply with the new rules. The 2003 Licensing Act allows police and trading standards officers to apply for variations in a pub licence
if there is concern about drink-related violence and disorder.
Licensing committee member Derek Heffernan said: It would be the end of buying a round but we have to do something to calm things down. There have been fights and stabbings and it's not right that people going out for the evening have to worry about
Drinkers in Oldham yesterday were similarly unimpressed. Jeff Smith, a regular at the Hare And Hounds, said: It would cause even more trouble than there is already because there will always be someone trying to jump the queue.
An Oldham council spokesprat said: The measures are under discussion and a decision will be made within weeks.
Far from promising a wild weekend, the UK seaside town of Brighton is fast degenerating into a centre of booze-confiscating puritanism.
How has this infamous recreational playground become so ban-happy, so distanced from its unashamed pleasure-seeking history? Where has that heady mix of elegance, taste and debauchery that was the Regency period gone?
The Manifesto Club last week produced a report which showed that 712 local authorities have introduced drink free zones, enabling police officers and the ridiculous community support officers – when are these people going to be made to find proper jobs?
– to confiscate alcohol on the mere suspicion that someone is going to break the law. The Manifesto Club, which is by the way becoming one of the significant voices of reason and liberty in Britain, estimates that 20,000 bottles or cans will be
confiscated in July and August this year. Brighton has enforced bans on people carrying unopened bottles of wine and beer which they plan to drink at home, Lambeth Council plans to make the entire borough the subject of a designated public place order
(DPPO), while Camden has a borough wide ban except for Regents Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath.
The smoking ban, on top of strict licensing laws and CCTV, has turned pubs from places of choice and tolerance into outlets for official meddling.
Two years into the English smoking ban, pubs are closing at a rate of 40 a week. The New Labour government and much of the media still claim to see no connection between the two, instead blaming economics and competition from supermarkets. But pubs have
thrived in previous recessions, and supermarkets have always sold cheaper booze. People used to go to pubs for the social atmosphere. Some of us still would, if that atmosphere wasn't fast disappearing.
Drinking in streets and parks will be soon be banned in miserable Britain. Town halls are drafting new laws to introduce the first blanket bans on public drinking applying to entire towns.
Nottingham is set to bar drinking alcohol in streets, parks and other public places from next year. Nottingham intends to be the first city to implement the ban. It is taking advantage of repressive new legislation which, for the first time, will allow
bylaws to be passed without needing approval by a Cabinet minister.
Nottingham said other town halls were also keen to introduce blanket bans - potentially outlawing street drinking across huge swathes of the country.
Council leader Jon Collins said: People understand clear messages. There's no confusion in alcohol-free zones. I do not think it's a civil liberties issue. It's about saying we do not want people drinking in the street.
Richard Antcliff, Nottingham's chief antisocial behaviour officer, said the council wanted to target loutish behaviour and street drinkers who intimidate law-abiding members of the public.
The Tories backed Nottingham and said it was absolutely right they should get tough on binge drinking on the streets.
Town halls will also be given new powers to strip late-opening pubs of their licences, removing the requirement they must have first received a complaint from residents or the police.
Currently, street drinking can be restricted only by Designated Public Place Orders, introduced by the Home Office in 2001. These are confined to very specific areas, where there must be a history of anti-social behaviour.
However, there are concerns that some councils may be too heavy-handed in the way they introduce new byelaws, possibly putting an end to picnics in the park. Dylan Sharpe of Big Brother Watch said: This is yet another piece of legislation with the
potential to create criminals out of law-abiding people.
Government announces ideas to ensure that pubs are even more troublesome
The more the authorities try to restrict alcohol the more it makes the problem worse. The restrictions tend to be effective against the oldies who choose to drink at home, yet they make little impact on youngsters who are essentially out to find
a partner, an almost unstoppable human urge.
The net result is that the older, socially calming customers, stay home, leaving pubs full of youngsters, a recipe for increased troubles.
Pubs, bars and off-licences will be forced to ask under 21s for identity in the latest campaign against supposed binge drinking.
They will be legally obliged to make checks if they have a reasonable suspicion that customers look under that age, ministers will announce next week.
At the moment they are only encouraged to do so. Alcohol retailers will face the prospect of hefty fines and losing their licence if they flout the new rules. A security guard checks the identity of a young man and his girlfriend before he allows
them into a bar
From next week, identity checks will be compulsory before serving alcohol to drinkers who look under 21. The Government fears that thousands of youngsters under the legal drinking age of 18 are getting away with buying alcohol because they look
A ban on supposedly irresponsible drink promotions such as happy hours and two-for-one deals is also expected to be announced by Home Secretary Alan Johnson. [Perhaps encouraging people to get well tanked up at home before
leaving for expensive bars. Surely not a helpful outcome].
A Government source said: We have moved beyond voluntary codes and guidelines. This will be mandatory and non-negotiable. It will be legally enforceable. The Prime Minister has made it clear we cannot tolerate the continued widespread abuse
of alcohol through the UK.
Pub and club promotions that encourage binge drinking will be banned within months. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said: Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year and while the vast majority of retailers are responsible,
a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions. Speed-drinking games and dentist's chairs , where alcohol is poured directly into the mouths of customers, will also be banned.
Pubs and clubs will have to provide free tap water to customers and be required to ask for the identity of anyone who looks under 18.
The code will force licensed premises to offer wine in small 125ml glasses as well as the more common 250ml measure. Pub and club owners will also have to offer small beer and spirit measures.
Parliament will debate the code within the next few weeks, but the measures dealing with irresponsible drinking and making tap water available will come into effect in April, before the general election. The measures on age verification and ensuring
that smaller measures are available to customers will come into force on October 1.
Ministers have, however, backed down from banning supermarket bulk buys. The mandatory code also avoids an outright end to happy hours where drinks are sold cheaply for a certain period of time. Instead, local authorities will have wider
powers from the end of this month to impose a ban on happy hours in individual pubs.
Ian Gilmore, the President of the Royal College of Physicians, welcomed the code but whinged that it failed to deal with the issue of cheap supermarket drinks.
Constant ID checks in supermarkets and off-licences are infantilising young adults, a report by a civil liberties group
The survey by the Manifesto Club suggests that cashiers' over-zealous questioning of customers in their 20s is penalising thousands of innocent people and forcing them to carry their passports all the time.
The study, 2 8¾: How Constant Age Checks Are Infantilising Adults , is published as the coalition government is considering increasing to £20,000 the maximum penalty for those illegally serving underage drinkers .
The most annoyed constituency is people in their late 20s, who are being frequently ID checked, particularly by supermarkets, the report says.
Campaigns under the slogans of Think 21 and Think 25 have led to confusion about the correct age limit for consuming alcohol, resulting in some checkout staff refusing to sell products to those who are under 25 but over 18, the Manifesto Club maintains:
People are being refused alcohol when shopping with younger siblings or children – including one woman who was prevented from buying a bottle of wine, because her 23-year old daughter and 22-year-old friend could not provide ID.
The Manifesto Club describes its aim as campaigning against the hyper-regulation of everyday life . Its director, Josie Appleton, added: 'Producing your passport should not be a routine part of the checkout procedure. There is little point in
the government abolishing ID cards while backing policies that mean we have to show ID whenever we go shopping. People in their 20s and 30s should be free to go to the supermarket or off-licence without being constantly challenged.
Miserable Scottish plans to ban people under the age of 21 from buying drink in supermarkets and off-licences have been thrown out.
Holyrood's health and sport committee rejected an Scottish National Party proposal to give licensing boards the discretion to ban sales in areas where excessive drinking has led to antisocial behaviour by five votes to three.
Opposition MSPs ignored a last-minute plea from Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon who said more than 2,000 under-20s were discharged from hospital in Scotland with an alcohol-related diagnosis in 2007-08.
Liberal and Conservative committee members voted in favour of an amendment lodged by Labour public health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson, which argued that the proposal discriminated against young people.
Dr Simpson said he was glad that the majority of committee members had supported his amendment. The fact is Nicola Sturgeon has lost the argument with young people in exactly the same way as she is losing the argument with pensioners who would be
penalised by minimum unit pricing, he added.
Recently I had the misfortune of being invited for a night out in Southampton.
This visit was a real eye-opener to me and taught me how much the Big Brother society is starting to negatively impact on our day to day lives. I also had a lesson in how little power we have to challenge the people who are doing this.
Let's start with the basics: it is not possible to have a night out in Southampton without carrying some form of identification.
The types that the bars and clubs accept are: a Prove it card (which at 30 I am too old to have), a driving licence (I don't drive) or a passport (which in line with Home Office guidelines I use for immigration purposes only!). Without one of
these documents, snarling bouncers will refuse you entry to almost every club or bar, even if you the last time you got IDed John Major was still Prime Minister!
So my night out began by one charitable doormen turning a blind eye to the fact I couldn't prove I was over 18. My 30 year old face and girth was apparently not enough evidence on its own. On to another bar and door staff helpfully told me that it
was discrimination to only ID people who looked young. Apparently they'd have merrily turned away a pensioner!
New drinking restrictions have been passed by Scottish Parliament - but without plans to bring in minimum drink pricing.
But the more prohibitionist measures, including raising the purchase age for off licence sales, failed to find enough support.
The bill will ban supposedly irresponsible drink promotions at off licences. This aims to end the sale of alcohol at heavily discounted prices, as well as offers such as two-for-one deals. Specific measures are expected to be in place in the
The bill, which was passed unanimously will also pave the way for the introduction, in future, of a social responsibility fee on retailers who sell alcohol.
And licensed premises will be required to operate more repressive proof of age rules, based on the age of 25, rather than 21.
Ministers claimed a wide range of professionals, including senior police officers and health 'experts', backed plans to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol at 45p. But Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems said the move would penalise responsible drinkers
and could be illegal under European competition law. As MSPs debated the bill for the final time, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon attempted to re-insert minimum pricing into the legislation after it was removed at an earlier stage, but parliament
opposed the move.
Government plans to allow local licensing boards to raise the age for buying alcohol from off licences from 18 to 21 were previously dismissed as discriminatory by opposition parties.
The Tories failed to find enough support to insert a sunset clause in the legislation, which would have required a review of its main measures after five years.
Customers adopting standard privacy
protection to buy a bottle of beer
Bottles of alcohol should be tagged so adults buying drink for under-18s can be traced by police, a Labour MSP has said. Under the scheme, bottles would bear a printed barcode enabling authorities to track whether legally bought alcohol has been given to
The scheme, which is already being piloted in areas of Dundee, involves the police seizing alcohol from under-18s and then using the coded bottle labels to trace where the drink was bought from.
Officers then use CCTV from the shop to identify who bought the drink - whether it was an adult or an under-age customer being illegally sold it. Customers are even easier to trace if they use store cards.
Labour's Orwellian sounding 'community safety' spokesman James Kelly wants to roll out the scheme to other parts of the country and says the Scottish Government should encourage licensing boards to sign up to the initiative.
Although the scheme aims to catch shops selling alcohol to under-age customers, it is also used to target proxy purchases - adults buying drink on behalf of minors.
Those caught supplying alcohol to those under the age of 18 would be reported to the procurator-fiscal and could be hit with a fine of up to £5,000 or a prison sentence.
The scheme is understood to cost less than £100 per shop to run and authoritarians claim it would reduce alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour in areas with under-age drinking problems.
The Coalition has finally unveiled its alcohol minimum price regime in a statement to Parliament.
The minimum price for vodka will be fixed at £10.71 a litre, whisky at £8 for a 70cl bottle, cider at 40p a litre and 38p per 440ml can of lager or beer.
The minimum price will be based on the rate of duty plus VAT, not on the cost of producing the drinks. Thankfully shops will only have to raise the price for a small number of products.
Miserable campaigners were somewhat disappointed. Professor Ian Gilmore, chairman of the UK Health Alliance, said: To bring in a measure that we know in practice will have no effect at all on the health of this nation I think is disappointing.
It's a step in the right direction, but I have to say it's an extremely small step. It'll have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of cheap drinks sold, for example, in supermarkets.
Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale with self interest at heart, said the price levels were too low to help the struggling pub industry. Chief executive Mike Benner said: The decision means pubs will continue to close as they are undercut by supermarkets
selling canned beers at pocket-money prices.
David Cameron is planning a miserable minimum price policy or alcohol in England. The minimum price would be accompanied by an aggressive moral campaign and a more draconian approach to curtailing the sale of alcohol in shops, pubs and clubs
The Prime Minister has ordered officials to develop a scheme in England to stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets.
Ministers could copy Scottish proposals, which would ban the sale of alcohol below 45p a unit, or bring in a more expensive and bureaucratic system of taxes based on the number of alcohol units contained in the drink.
Both options would cost drinkers and the economy an estimated extra £ 700 million a year, with any extra tax revenue potentially going to the NHS.
The Daily Telegraph understands that the Prime Minister personally ordered the radical big bang approach, which will be included in the Government's forthcoming alcohol strategy. It was due for release next month, but has now been delayed until
A public online consultation has been launched asking for views on the implementation of two new powers designed
to spoil people's fun and depress the late night economy.
The measures, contained in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and due to be introduced in the autumn, will empower local killjoys by:
allowing local authorities to charge a levy for late-night licences to contribute to the cost of extra policing
extending Early Morning Restriction Orders -- a power that will allow licensing authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol in all or part of their areas -- to any time between midnight and 6am
The consultation asks whether some types of premises should be exempted from the new measures, or eligible for a reduction in the levy, if they are judged not to be major contributors to the type alcohol-related crime and disorder that can blight
neighbourhoods. Such premises could be hotels, cinemas or community venues.
Minister for Fun Prevention Lord Henley said:
Alcohol-related crime and disorder is a problem for many of our communities. These new measures give power back to local areas so they can respond to their individual needs.
But we also recognise that some types of premises that open late to serve alcohol do not contribute to late night drinking problems and should not be unduly penalised. That is why we are seeking views on whether they should be
exempt or see a reduction in fees.
We are keen to hear from anyone who is affected by these new powers to help inform our plans to ensure the premises we have proposed are the right ones.
The public, licensing authorities, the licensed trade and police are all encouraged to contribute their views.
Suffocating any avenue of life that is fun and pleasurable, in this case drinking
Minimum pricing will surely make so called binge drinking problems worse. It is more likely to deter older people than youngsters who are on the unstoppable life quest to find a partner. Older people provide a level of natural policing to the nightlife
scene, and losing them just leaves bars full of youngsters, a recipe for the very problems the government is supposedly trying to reduce.
Police chiefs launched a scathing attack on David Cameron's miserable plans to tackle so called binge drinking, branding them dangerous
and unhelpful .
The Police Federation also warned that forces did not have enough resources to implement the Prime Minister's crackdown.
Cameron on had pledged to tackle the growing scandal of alcohol-fuelled disorders during a visit to a hospital in Newcastle. He confirmed the Government was considering plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol and give police more powers to
tackle violence and disorder.
The crackdown includes plans for drunk tanks , cells where those deemed incapable of walking home would be sent by police to sleep it off, and booze buses , which pick up revellers and take them to cells. Other proposals include deploying
more police to accident and emergency wards to prevent drunken violence.
Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: The Prime Minister's suggestion of putting more police on patrol in hospitals to help deal with problems of drunken and anti-social behaviour would be laudable if the police
service wasn't struggling to meet the current workload. We simply do not, and will not, have the police officers or the resources.
McKeever said plans to tackle alcohol purely from a health perspective without considering the implications on other public services were unhelpful and likely to fail .
I have a real problem with our country's leadership, precisely because of this sort of nitwittery. I shake my head and wonder how someone who spouts this kind of evidence-free claptrap gets to that level.