The Scottish Grocers’ Federation and Association of Convenience Stores want to implement an Off-Sales Code of Practice on Alcohol Promotions, in the run-up to the new Licensing (Scotland) Bill.

Scott Landsburgh, chairman of the SGF, said that the off-trade had been irritated at being dragged into arguments about irresponsible drinking, which it felt was more prevalent in the on-trade, but recognised a need for self-regulation arbitrated by the Portman Group.

Landsburgh was speaking to the Alcohol Focus Group, which was discussing the proposals for the new licensing Bill.

He also called for a national mandate on major issues, such as opening hours, underage drinking and irresponsible promotions, as opposed to suggestions of flexibility for local licensing boards and said: “Business needs certainty more than anything else in order to ensure legislation is adhered to across the board, and also to ensure training for managers and their staff is structured in order to comply with legislation.”

Landsburgh used the forum to press the Scottish Executive on the national identity card issue. First Minister Jack McConnell was reported to have voiced his opposition to David Blunkett’s scheme for Scotland, but Landsburgh claimed that the underage drinking problem could not be solved without national identity cards.