The Government should concentrate on enforcing existing laws on the sale of alcohol before imposing new legislation, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WTSA) has warned.
In its response to the Government's consultation on introducing a mandatory code of practice for the sale and promotion of alcohol, the WSTA outlined how many current laws are not enforced.
The WTSA said:
• In the whole of England and Wales in 2006, only eight people under 18 were taken to court for trying to purchase alcohol and only 11 were reprimanded
• Only 56 people were cautioned or proceeded against for buying or attempting to buy alcohol for someone underage in 2006
• Despite ministers calling for higher fines for refusing to stop drinking or to surrender alcohol in a public place, not a single person since 2004 has been given a fine of more than £250 and the maximum fine of £500 is not being used
• Not a single person has been found guilty or proceeded against for the offence of obtaining alcohol for a person who is drunk
•Both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the National Audit Office have acknowledged that the Licensing Act is not being used effectively by local authorities
Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "Tough talk about action to curb underage drinking means nothing if we don't enforce the laws we have.
"We do not need more legislation - we need to continue our partnership with government to create stricter enforcement of our current laws."
By Daniel Thomas
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