ACS urges government to fill ID vacuum

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ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has expressed its concerns about the implications of the Government’s decision to scrap ID cards following today’s Queen’s Speech, where the coalition has set out its legislative agenda.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are disappointed at the decision to scrap ID cards, which ends the prospect of a definitive, universal proof of age card. As Ministers move to end the ID culture, they must not forget the vacuum that this leaves and their obligation to support local shops in their important role on the front line of preventing underage drinking and smoking in communities.

“As an immediate priority we will be asking Ministers to support existing proof of age card schemes, specifically the PASS scheme, to show their commitment to preventing underage sales.”

Also in the speech the Queen unveiled bills to reform policing, on energy efficiency, decentralisation and national insurance.

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill:

Lowman said: “We are ready to work constructively with the new Government to tackle alcohol related harm, but the measures announced today could hit responsible businesses harder than problem drinkers.

“Progress on alcohol harm has been achieved in spite of rather than because of the wealth of new law that has been passed in the past 10 years. It is unfortunate that the new Government has not looked first at the effective enforcement of existing measures rather than bring in the fourth alcohol law change since the Licensing Act was brought in only seven years ago.”

Energy Security and Green Economy Bill:

Lowman said: “We will support measures to encourage and promote energy efficiency for retail businesses and welcome these long sighted measures. But Government must intervene immediately to address the bullying and unfair tactics by their energy suppliers and ACS will be campaigning for stronger safeguards in this area to be included in the Bill.”

National Insurance Contributions Bill:

Lowman said: “Local shops can create jobs in communities; this action to prevent the increase in national insurance costs on business is the right decision.”