A Tesco store near Clydebank has agreed to cap the abv of certain products it sells at 5.5% in order to obtain a licence. West Dunbartonshire Council has taken a tough stance on licensees in recent years and since 2010 has limited the amount of alcohol licences available due to perceived over-provision in the area. The Tesco store, in Hardgate, has managed to obtain a licence in spite of the Council’s claims of over-provision, after agreeing to not stock beer, cider or caffeinated drinks over 5.5% or sell products in packs of less than four where the individual unit size is 440ml or less. The move comes after Tesco applied to extend the hours during which it could sell alcohol, and the floor space of the prescribed alcohol sales area.
A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “The Licensing Board approved the application from Tesco to vary the existing licence after considering the application and its benefits compared to the existing premises licence. They also took into consideration the additional responsible conditions agreed by Tesco to tailor the products available for sale.”
The move has been slammed by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, which claims that the council has given the supermarket giant preferential treatment. Chief Executive John Drummond said: “SGF is dismayed that West Dunbartonshire licensing Board has torn up its own policy on overprovision simply to accommodate Tesco. In delisting some high alcohol products Tesco has copied a tactic used by Sainsbury’s in Perth in 2012. Once again the Council has bought it. Would such an application from an independent retailer have been treated in the same way? The bigger picture here is the misguided attitude of Scottish Local Authorities. They are too willing to buy into the myth that the big supermarkets provide real jobs, consumer choice and low prices. We have to realise that the big supermarkets are partly the cause of the serious problems we have with our town centres and high streets. The solution lies in creating the right environment for shops that are genuinely local and genuinely community based.”