Challenge 21

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Finance and Public Services and Communities – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Margaret Jamieson Margaret Jamieson Labour 2:15 pm, 8th March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to promote challenge 21 to eradicate underage purchasing of alcohol. (S2O-12285)

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

The Executive is committed to tackling underage drinking, which includes addressing the availability of alcohol, and we welcome initiatives such as challenge 21. I visited a local Co-op not so long ago to see the good work that is being done to ensure that anyone who tries to buy alcohol demonstrates that they are of age.

As part of our updated plan for action on alcohol problems, we will continue to support the development of the new national entitlement card sponsored by Young Scot, which bears the proof-of-age standards scheme logo.

In addition, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 requires all licensees to operate on a no proof, no sale basis, and on-sales premises that wish to allow access by children will be required to set out their plans for approval by the relevant licensing board.

Photo of Margaret Jamieson Margaret Jamieson Labour

Does the minister agree that licensees in the on-sales and off-sales trade who operate challenge 21 should be congratulated on their contribution to combating underage drinking in our communities? Does he further agree that licensing boards should do more to encourage those who do not currently operate challenge 21, and in certain cases make the initiative a condition of licence?

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

The roll-out of test purchasing throughout Scotland will mean that all off-sales and on-sales premises will need to ensure that they require people who buy alcohol to prove that they are the right age on a no proof, no sale basis. Test purchasing is the real driver in ensuring that responsible on-sales and off-sales premises challenge anyone who buys alcohol to prove that they are the right age before a sale takes place.