Children Requiring Compulsory Measures of Supervision

Part of Orders of the Day — Children (Scotland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 1st May 1995.

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Photo of Mr Phil Gallie Mr Phil Gallie , Ayr 9:45 pm, 1st May 1995

The amendments are intended to draw attention to alcohol abuse among young people. In Scotland—and, I suspect, further afield—it is currently illegal for shopkeepers, off-licences or anyone else to sell alcohol for consumption by those under 18, and for alcohol to be bought for a youngster. Strangely, it is not illegal for the youngster to consume that alcohol.

The current position puts great pressure on shopkeepers who attempt to establish the age of youngsters, but the main problem involves people in the community who see youngsters drinking on beaches or in town centres—it commonly happens on large housing estates—and complain to the police. They know that they must not buy alcohol for young people, and cannot understand why the police are not able to stop those young people drinking in public places. The amendments seek to make it illegal for youngsters to consume alcohol in public places, "alcohol" and "alcoholic beverage" being considered to be any drink that contains more than 1 per cent. alcohol by volume.

The advertising of alcoholic drinks is now being targeted at young people, and there are numerous containers designed to appeal to the young market. That cannot be right.