Off-trade's not responsible for binge drinking

A report by the Scottish Executive has found that drinks retailers have a responsible attitude towards selling alcohol.

The independent study - The Relationship Between Off-sales & Problem Drinking in Scotland - looked at whether alcohol promotions in the off-trade and the actions of retailers were responsible for the rise in binge drinking.

While the report found that more needs to be done to address alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, there was little evidence that retailers were responsible for fuelling it.

Scottish Retail Consortium director Fiona Moriarty said she was pleased with the findings. “There is no doubt that alcohol abuse is a significant cultural issue which needs to be addressed at a national, community and personal level and retailers are fully committed to playing their part in reducing the harm caused by alcohol.”

The study found no evidence of retailers selling alcohol to under-18s, but did reveal a trend of third party purchasing, where an adult buys alcohol on behalf of someone under-age.

Recommendations from the report include improving the training of off-licence staff, tackling third party buying and investigating the introduction of a national proof of age scheme.

The report also calls on the government to improve attitudes towards alcohol in the community with an emphasis on providing alcohol education in schools.