Hopes the government might at last commit itself to a single proof of age scheme were dashed this week. Home Office minister Charles Clark unveiled an action plan to tackle alcohol related crime. Part of that was a commitment to introduce legal test purchasing by under 18s as outlined in the licensing White Paper published in April. But he added: "We are considering the best approach to take [on proof of age] and it is important to place a positive duty on retailers." He maintained there were still three possible routes; adapting the Department for Education and Employment's (DFEE) Connexions Card which is geared towards education; going with the current patchwork of proof of age schemes; or creating a new national ID card. Clark said: "I believe the industry is ready to commit to a proof of age scheme which is why I am relaxed about resources. I believe there is a readiness by everyone to contribute." But retailers want a workable national ID scheme in place before test purchasing of alcohol becomes law. BRC director general William Moyes said: "One national ID card would cut down on the confusion created by the various cards, and would prove categorically a shopper's age. The idea retailers can train staff to judge young people's ages is absurd. We need to have proof not guesswork." {{NEWS }}