The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called the government's planned mandatory alcohol code 'lop-sided and unbalanced' because it focuses too heavily on pubs and not enough on supermarkets.
Under government plans, all-you-can-drink style promotions will be banned and wine and spirits will have to be served in a range of measures, including smaller 125ml and 25ml measures.
Home Office minister Alan Johnson said earlier today that more needed to be done to tackle binge drinking and blamed irresponsible promotions and retailers for some of the problems.
“Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year and while the vast majority of retailers are responsible, a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions," he said.
Unsupportive of pubs
However, BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the code did nothing to help ailing pubs.
"We have consistently supported legislation to crack down on irresponsible promotions in pubs and supermarkets. However, with nearly 70 per cent of all alcohol now sold through supermarkets, the pub-centric measures announced today are lop-sided and unbalanced," she said.
“Pubs are struggling and the country is in recession. This is not the time for the Home Office to be burying business in yet more unnecessary red tape."
Following a public consultation, the government is now seeking Parliamentary approval before the code can be enforced.
Other measures that could be introduced as part of the code include making it a legal requirement for publicans to ask anyone who looks under 18 for ID and for pubs and bars to supply free tap water to customers.
Licensees and shops breaching the code could face fine of up to £20,000 or a six month jail sentence.
Simmonds said: "All the powers needed to deal with problem premises already exist. The trouble is poor enforcement of the current laws. Just adding to that pile is unhelpful.
"What we need are targeted policies which deal with personal responsibility, aimed at the 10 per cent of the population who drink 40 per cent of all alcohol."