We engage with policy makers and enforcement authorities in Wales to promote solutions to alcohol misuse that are rooted in partnership, rather than regulation. Until now, many of the Welsh Assembly Government’s policy intentions on alcohol have been aspirational, as powers over licensing, advertising and tax powers are reserved for the UK Parliament. However this is likely to change given the referendum in March 2011 in favour of extending the law-making powers of the Assembly. This result will allow the Assembly to legislate on new areas, including health, without the need to get agreement from the UK Parliament first.
Alcohol Strategy for Wales
The Welsh Assembly Government launched a ten year substance misuse strategy in 2008. It set out areas in which it would press the UK Government for action, in relation to pricing and promotion, drink driving, the inclusion of safeguarding public health as a statutory objective of the Licensing Act, and strengthening or mandating the code of conduct for the alcohol industry.
This strategy also called for greater use of current powers to tackle irresponsible businesses that persistently sell or supply alcohol to children, which the WSTA supports. In order to tackle issues related to underage sales, we are working with local partners to establish the first Community Alcohol Partnership in Wales. CAPs bring retailers, police, local authorities and other partners together to prevent underage sales of alcohol. The industry-led Challenge 25 scheme, which encourages anyone who looks under 25 to carry acceptable ID when buying alcohol, has also successfully tackled underage purchases. The WSTA has produced Welsh language Challenge 25 signage freely available for download from this page.
For more information on these schemes, please see the Social Responsibility page.
Minimum pricing for Wales
In 2010, the Welsh Assembly Government announced that it favoured a policy of minimum unit pricing of alcohol. If not pursued by the UK Government, it would seek the power to progress the policy itself. The referendum result in favour of expanding the Assembly’s law making powers could increase the likelihood of proposals being taken forward. The WSTA will continue to oppose minimum pricing policies, which are both wrong in principle and practice. For more information, see the Pricing Policy pages.
At present, Wales is subject to the same licensing regime as in England. See Licensing Law in England and Wales for more information on recent changes to the licensing regime.