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Watchdog to investigate alcohol promotion ban

Watchdog to investigate alcohol promotion ban

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Watchdog to investigate alcohol promotion ban

Wednesday 29 September 2021


Jersey’s competition watchdog has been asked to review the rules banning drinks promotions like 'happy hours' on the request of the Attorney General.

Currently, on-license premises are not allowed to offer alcoholic drinks at discounted prices, such as part of a 'buy one drink get one free' promotion or in a 'happy hour'.

Off-licence premises, meanwhile, also cannot sell alcoholic drinks at a price lower than the established 50p per unit of alcohol. 

Set to take place over four months, the Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority's market study will look at the way the guidance impacts competition between the on and off-license trades, and compare it to similar international policies, and examine the old Attorney General’s guidance, which dates back to the 1970s but has been updated over time.

The Authority's study comes after Deputy Lindsay Ash’s proposition to allow ‘happy hour’ and ‘buy one get one free’ promotions on drinks for a limited time was approved by States Members last year - however, this progressed no further.

drinks alcohol gathering cheers club bar toast party

Pictured: The JCRA are conducting the study on the request of the Attorney General. 

Though Deputy Ash’s other suggestion that a study into the market be carried out by the JCRA was not approved by the Assembly, the Authority cited it as one of their reasons for doing the review now.

The result of the JCRA’s review could range from a view from the Authority that the guidance has no impact, all the way to recommendations to to change it with a final study due to be published in early 2022.

However, for the hospitality industry, it is more than just the promotion rules that are the issue.

Last year, Randalls boss Gavin Reid said he would rather see a complete overhaul of the 46-year-old law, saying promotions and happy hours would only see the market become a "race to the bottom" on prices. 

Lindsay-Ash.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Lindsay Ash's proposal to introduce promotions in pubs for a limited time was approved, but went no further than this vote.

A ‘task and finish’ group to work on a wholly new licensing law was also assembled last year, with the aim of bringing an in-principle policy proposition for debate by the States Assembly this year. 

Express has contacted Government for an update on this work and is awaiting a response. 

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