Attwood makes moves to crack down on irresponsible alcohol sales

19 August 2010

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood today outlined his plans to crack down on the escalating problem of harmful drinking.

Recognising the problems presented by irresponsible drinks promotions and cheap alcohol, Minister Attwood will be presenting new proposals in the coming weeks to introduce controls on drink promotions for pubs, clubs, supermarkets and other outlets. His plans include a crackdown on such things as buy one get one free, women drinking free and all you can drink for a set amount of money. The Executive has already endorsed the Minister's proposals which will go for consultation after being tabled in the Assembly in the Autumn. Alex Attwood said: "The irresponsible sale of alcohol can create many health and social problems in our community. It is something that I want to address as quickly as possible. It is imperative that we get new laws introduced to tackle this problem. "In order to get these new controls in place as soon as possible I asked to piggy-back on the new Justice Bill which will go through the Assembly in the Autumn. "This is a clear example of Ministers and government working quickly together to identify and address problems." Minister Attwood added that he is still not content however, and aims to introduce further regulations in the future. The Minister said: "I want to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in clubs, pubs and supermarkets but also, on a larger scale, I want to target those retailers who sell alcohol below cost price in order to encourage higher footfall and therefore generate sales. "Selling alcohol at minimal prices encourages people to drink irresponsibly, with damaging knock on effects on themselves and in society. It is my duty as the Social Development Minister to tackle this head on." Minister Attwood has already begun to tackle alcohol abuse through the Licensing Bill which he presented to the Assembly in June. That legislation will include: - Powers for the PSNI to close drinking establishments immediately when there is disorder. - A new penalty points system for license holders when they are found to be operating outside the law. -New proof of ID rules for clubs and pubs.