UK MP’s: Ban Happy Hour!

“happy hour” drink promotions should be banned according to a group of UK MPs.

British supermarkets should also be subject to tighter controls and prevented by law from selling alcohol at a loss to encourage people into their stores, the MPs say.

Citing research that showed the real price of alcohol has fallen dramatically, the Home Affairs Select Committee urged ministers to clamp down on irresponsible bars and pubs.

They found the “whole focus” of police resources was in dealing with alcohol-fuelled and football violence, meaning officers were “hitting their targets but missing the point”.

Chairman of the select committee Keith Vaz said: “We cannot have on one hand a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder, and on the other the police diverting all their resources to cope with it.”

He also called for previously voluntary codes of conduct for the drinks industry to be legally enforceable. Only last week however a senior officer said police did not need new powers to tackle errant licensees.

Simon O’Brien, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) on matters involving pubs and clubs, said those selling drink irresponsibly were a “minority”.

Ministers are however reportedly considering a compulsory code for pubs and bars that would outlaw discounts and happy hours.

Publicans have backed the call by UK MPs to ban “happy hour” drinks promotions but blamed the supermarkets for fuelling binge drinking with their loss making promotions.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the industry had taken action to end “dodgy promotions” but was prevented from going further by competition law. Spokesman Mark Hastings said: “In contrast, the supermarkets have done nothing but increase their extreme discounting offers.”

The BBPA’s own code of conduct on how its members should deal with alcohol promotions was withdrawn this year after advice that it might itself be breaking competition laws.

The general public’s response has been largely that the government created the problem when it changed the licencing laws and is now trying to blame everyone but itself.

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Posted on November 10, 2008, in Current Affairs, UK Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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