Alcohol licensing in Scotland: a historical overview
Version of Record online: 30 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Author, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 107, Issue 8, pages 1397–1403, August 2012
How to Cite
Nicholls, J. (2012), Alcohol licensing in Scotland: a historical overview. Addiction, 107: 1397–1403. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03799.x
- Issue online: 10 JUL 2012
- Version of Record online: 30 MAY 2012
- Submitted 14 October 2011; initial review completed 23 November 2011; final version accepted 10 January 2012
- Alcohol policy;
- public health;
Aim This paper provides a historical overview of licensing law in Scotland. It seeks to put important contemporary policy developments into their historical context and to draw attention to key themes in licensing policy debates across the United Kingdom.
Design Based on a survey of statutes, commissions of enquiry and consumption and retail data, this paper draws together historical evidence to present a synopsis of Scottish licensing history.
Settings The article focuses on Scotland, but also discusses UK-wide licensing policy over a 250-year period.
Findings Scottish licensing has diverged from licensing in England and Wales and has addressed some historical licensing weaknesses, including problems of accountability, overprovision and systemic oversight regarding off-sales. Distinctive features of current Scottish legislation include public health protection as a statutory licensing objective; local Licensing Forums and Licensing Standards Officers; a requirement for explicit policies on the ‘overprovision’ of licensed premises; mandatory restrictions on price promotions in the on- and off-trades; and limitations on opening hours for off-licences.
Conclusion Scotland has developed alcohol policies several times addressing long-standing licensing weaknesses throughout the United Kingdom. Some Scottish alcohol policies have later become the norm in England and Wales.