Alcohol to be sold in store at motorway services

ALCOHOL is set to be sold at one of Scotland’s busiest motorway service areas for the first time.

The premises licence was granted to the new Marks and Spencer Simply Food at Moto services on the M9 at junction 9 at Bannockburn, where the M9 and M80 meet.

It follows moves to relax a law that used to ban the sale of alcohol at motorway service stations.

Members of Stirling Licensing Board chose to grant approval for the application despite fears about drink being consumed and advertised on the site.

Police raised no objections to the plans to sell alcohol between the hours of 10am and 10pm at the store.
The services have been open since 1985, when the land was handed over to the former Granada Services company by the Secretary of State to create a rest area.

Speaking on behalf of M&S, representative Robert Skinner told the licensing board: “People tend to go to these stores because of the quality of their food.
“Some of you may remember the much parodied ‘This is not just any food, this is M&S food;.

“The licence is aimed at complementing that offering.

“Almost all M&S Simply food stores are licensed.”

SNP councillor Gerry McLaughlan said that he had concerns about people drinking at the service station.

He said: “There is a seating area outside in the car park.

“This is well known as a rest area and I know that people do use it regularly.
“My fear is that people may purchase drink and then sit outside and have it with their Burger King meal.”

Councillor McLaughlan also said that a large number of football supporters pass through the services and could buy drink from M&S at the services.

A representative from Moto Services said staff did not allow anyone to drink within the area, and that they liaised with police who can recommend if alcohol should not be sold for a period when a big match is taking place.

Source: Herald Scotland, 9th April

Hospitals could reduce healthcare burden of alcohol related harm by simple routine screening

The growing burden of alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) could be reduced if hospitals introduced a simple universal screening procedure for those attending acute and emergency hospital settings, according to a new study shared today at The International Liver Congress™ in Barcelona, Spain.

Knowing that those at risk of alcohol related harm are often frequently admitted to emergency care settings, the UK researchers examined the feasibility of screening all acute care admissions for alcohol misuse. They found that not only is universal screening readily achievable, but it identifies patients who are at greatest risk of alcohol-related harm at a point when they can be targeted for treatment, thus reducing the risk of more severe liver damage.

According to the World Health Organization, Europe is the heaviest drinking region in the world in terms of the prevalence of alcohol consumption.1 Alcohol is also the main cause of liver disease, including liver cirrhosis which accounts for 1.8% of all deaths in Europe or around 170,000 deaths per year.2

Study author, Dr Richard Aspinall, consultant hepatologist from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, UK commented: "Many who die from cirrhosis due to alcohol related harm have a history of recurrent hospital admissions, meaning we are missing chances to offer treatment. This study shows that universal screening for alcohol misuse among patients admitted to Acute Medical Units is both achievable and can help inform targeted interventions. By classifying these patients according to their risk of alcohol harm, we can ensure they received the appropriate treatments to reduce the risk of adverse events occurring in the future, thus reducing the healthcare burden of alcohol-related harm."

Between July 2011 and March 2014, researchers collected data from over 53,000 admissions to the Acute Medical Unit of a major UK hospital. Patients were grouped according to their risk of alcohol-related harm, with 1,122 classified at 'increasing' risk, 1,921 classified at 'high' risk and the remainder classified as 'lower' risk. Information was collected on admission diagnoses, alcohol unit consumption, previous attendances, previous admissions, length of stay and mortality. Screening enabled the identification of a cohort of patients with frequent emergency department attendances, recurrent admissions and elevated risk of ARLD. Patients at 'increasing' risk of alcohol-related harm were referred for either a brief intervention or further assessment by an Alcohol Specialist Nurse Service.

Professor Laurent Castera, EASL Secretary General, commented, "This study places a spotlight on the significant burden alcohol misuse poses to health services, and the potential benefit of screening in reducing this burden." He continued, "Providing interventions for those at high risk of alcohol harm is vital. Creating a culture supportive of healthy behavioral change to help reduce alcohol consumption in Europe is however, equally as important if we are to address the root cause of this problem."

Source: Eurek Alert, 13th April

HMRC to analyse lower-than-expected uptake on Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

The government's Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme has suffered a blow after it was revealed it received only a quarter of the sign-ups as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had predicted. 

The scheme received around 4,800 applications before its deadline of 31 March, although HMRC had previously estimated around 20,000 businesses might need to register and had directly identified 9,500 eligible parties. 

"The estimate of how many customers need to apply was made on the best information available. In the past wholesalers have not been required to register with HMRC so we knew the numbers were not exact.

"However the number of applications is lower than expected. We are currently looking at who applied and will use that analysis to determine what we do next for those who have not applied but should have," an HMRC spokesperson said.

Wholesalers that do not register under the scheme could face a fine of up to £10,000 or a criminal conviction. However, City AM understands that businesses that are able to prove they did not know they needed to register for the scheme will not be subject to any punishments. 

"There could be a number of reasons why people thought they would be liable to register but weren't," David Richardson, regulatory and commercial affairs director at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said. 

"It may be that some of the reasons behind the figure include businesses registering as part of wider groups, premises numbers and that some weren't actually eligible under the conditions of the scheme who originally thought they would be."

Source : City A.M, 11th April