The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has labelled Government proposals to introduce a mandatory code of practice on the sale and promotion of alcohol as "ridiculous" and "reckless".
Under the Home Office and Department of Health proposals, every member of staff in the hospitality sector will have accredited, examined and certified training on alcohol, while every restaurant table and hotel room will have to have a detailed sensible drinking sign. There will also be restrictions on tasting sessions and pouring wine directly into the glass.
Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "It seems now we are to have Whitehall diktat on pub layouts and cocktail names along with bar staff forced to snoop round every corner, ensuring that no one can occasionally have a bit of fun down at the pub.
"There is even the assumption that people attend wine tastings in order to binge drink and cause trouble. To say that these latest proposals are ridiculous is an understatement; worse is their reckless misunderstanding of the costs to small businesses and to individual jobs."
Bish said the proposals on training would drive up staffing costs whilst depriving younger people of the chance to earn money on a part-time basis
He added that there were no new measures put forward to target the supermarkets' below-cost selling of alcohol.
The ALMR wants the Government to cancel the alcohol duty escalator; cut red tape; act on below-cost supermarket sales; and reintroduce empty property relief and extend the stamp duty holiday to pubs.
"There are real actions that the Government could take right now to help the industry, but all it can do is come up with pie-in-the-sky proposals based on wish-list sessions in ivory towers in Westminster," Bish said.
By Daniel Thomas
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