Alcoholic Drinks: Children

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 4th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prosecutions there have been for alcohol sales to those under the age of 18 since the new maximum fine for the offence was introduced; how many such prosecutions resulted in the maximum fine being applied; and how many prosecutions in the same period resulted in fines exceeding the previous maximum.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Fines imposed in individual cases are entirely a matter for the independent courts within the limits set by Parliament and following any relevant sentencing guidelines. The law requires that the amount of any fine must reflect both the seriousness of the offence and the known financial circumstances of the offender.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service takes the issue of fine enforcement very seriously and is working to ensure that clamping down on fine defaulters is a continued priority nationwide. Over recent years we have overseen improvements to the collection of financial penalties. There was a total of £290m collected against fines and related impositions in 2013/14 which was a record high.

In April 2012 the Government raised the maximum fine for the offence of persistently selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18 from £10,000 to £20,000 in cases where alcohol has been sold twice within a period of three months from the same premises.

The number of defendants proceeded against for offences involving sale of alcohol to those under the age of 18 in England and Wales from 2009 to 2013 can be viewed in the table attached.

In this time-period, no offender has been sentenced at any court in England and Wales, to the maximum penalty for the offences of persistently selling alcohol to children; of selling alcohol to a person aged under 18 years, or of allowing the sale of alcohol to a person under 18 years.

Between April 2012 and December 2013 no offender has received a fine above the previous maximum for the offence of persistently selling alcohol to children.

Court proceedings data for 2014 are planned for publication in Spring 2015.

Fines Selling alcohol to under 18s (Excel SpreadSheet, 26.5 KB)

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