Independent retailers have reacted sceptically to government talk of a regulatory body to ensure drinks retailers are acting responsibly.
Home Office documents, leaked to The Grocer’s sister on-trade title Morning Advertiser, indicate it is considering setting up a group it calls Ofbooze, funded by the drinks industry.
The organisation would supplant the existing Portman Group and would regulate how companies make and sell alcohol.
But the Association of Convenience Stores played down the plans, saying the government had suggested a similar idea after publishing its National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy in March.
James Lowman, ACS public affairs and communications manager, said: “The government wants the industry to take up the challenge of dealing with binge drinking and alcohol-related disorder by, for example, tackling irresponsible promotions. It is just trying to throw more pressure on it to increase regulation in these areas. A few months have gone by since the NAHRS was published and the government is looking for results.”
He repeated that the ACS would like regulation to be enforced through the Portman Group, rather than a government regulator.