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Government figures undermine Scottish alcohol proposal

Published:  23 July, 2008

As the Scottish Government considers plans to increase the purchasing age for alcohol in shops from 18 to 21, Government figures show the current drinking age is not being enforced, according to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA).

Jeremy Beadles, WSTA chief executive said: "Enforcement across the board against young people is basically non-existent and they see consequences for their actions their behaviour will not change.

"It begs the question as to why we should be raising the drinking age to 21 if the authorities won't take action against those breaking the current age limit."

The data was released through a Parliamentary question to the Home Office. It found that only 8 people under the age of 18 were proceeded against for attempting to purchase alcohol in either a shop or a licensed premises in 2006 and only 6 were found guilty. These figures are the lowest for 5 years.

The full data is available below.

The number of persons who were proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to purchase of alcohol by a person aged under 18 years in England and Wales, 2002 to 2006.

Proceeded against Found guilty

2002 13 9

2003 13 10

2004 10 8

2005 14 9

2006 8 6