Scottish retailers have been quick to slam a proposal that off licences should pay an annual fee related to the amount of alcohol they sell. The idea is one of 16 suggestions in a Private Member's Bill being introduced by Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie to tackle alcohol abuse in Scotland. Gorrie is also suggesting a national ID card scheme be introduced ­ something for which retailers have long been campaigning. Both the Scottish Retail Consortium and the Scottish Grocers' Federation have welcomed that proposal. But SRC director Patrick Brown warned: "The issue of alcohol licensing is so complex it should be addressed following a thorough review by the Scottish executive rather than by the piecemeal approach that would arise from a Private Member's Bill." The Scottish executive has previously said it has no plans to reform licensing laws north of the border. The SRC and SGF both want a full review. Brown said: "It is time for the Scottish executive to conclusively indicate whether it will reform the system or not." He also said the executive should look at introducing a proof of age card scheme ­ even if it backs away from a full review of licensing law. While welcoming some parts of Gorrie's proposed Bill, Lawrie Dewar, chief executive of the SGF, criticised his calls for off-licences to pay an annual fee. "This is quite clearly a penalty on the retailer and will certainly add to their costs and will inevitably need to be paid for by the consumer through increased prices." Dewar was also concerned about Gorrie's idea of giving the police and licensing boards powers to suspend licences immediately. "This may seem attractive but unless there are clear criteria this would again penalise licensees unfairly," he said. {{NEWS }}