Govt accused of selling alcoholic products to kidsBy Melita Kiely
The British government is being accused of helping drinks companies sell alcoholic products such as chocolate and ice cream to children.
The accusations came regarding The Deregulation Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords and repeals a law made in 2003 that criminalised the selling of liqueur confectionary to children younger than 16.
Speaking during question time in the Lords on Monday, Labour’s Lord Brooke suggested ministers were bowing to pressure from the alcohol industry, as reported by the Evening Standard.
“The number of children who are presenting drunk at A&E has gone up substantially in 2013,” he commented, before directing his statement to Home Office Spokeswoman Baroness Williams of Trafford.
“Isn’t it true that the government has responded to the industry’s pressure to remove the law that presently deters the sale of liqueur to children in other forms in food.
“Because the sale of alcohol in liquid forms has been declining the industry is now seeking to extend the areas in which it is selling alcohol in other forms – particularly those available to children – like ice cream with vodka in it, sorbets with vodka in it.
“Why have they responded to solely to the industry’s pressure to repeal that act which protects children when no one else – parents, the chief medical officer – has asked the government to do this?”
In response, Lady Williams highlighted that if a child were to consume liqueur confectionary, they would have to eat “vast quantities” to equate a glass of wine.
Furthermore, she explained the sales of alcoholic ice creams and sorbets were not permitted to be sold to those under 18.
But when challenged by shadow Home Office minister Baroness Smith of Basildon to confirm that the Deregulation Bill would not alter the current position on selling alcohol in forms other than liquid to children under 16, Lady Williams said: “The rules are that 0.2 litres per kilogram is the limit and that is to stop vast quantities of alcohol being put into food.”