A trade body has attacked government proposals to legislate, following a newly announced consultation to be launched on alcohol policy. The British Beer and Pub association (BBPA) said that the industry should not be held accountable for the choices and behaviour of individuals. Mark Hastings, director of communications for the BBPA, said: “The government’s approach should be to address the underlying culture and change attitudes, not just legislate and regulate. Legislation is a sledgehammer that will not crack the nut. “There also needs to be the right balance between individual and corporate responsibility. We expect to be held to account for those things we can control, but companies cannot and should not be held to account for individual choices and behaviours that are beyond their ability to control. “This is an industry that already bears the burden of one the heaviest tax and regulatory regimes in the world. “With the economy in a precarious position, business under pressure, pubs closing at record rates and people feeling the pinch, now is not the time to be announcing a raft of new costs, regulations and restrictions on either businesses or individuals. The inevitable impact of such measures is to force up costs and prices and push more pubs towards penury. “This seems to be a classic example of the government’s tendency towards announcing new laws, rather than enforcing existing ones. There are plenty of laws and regulations to deal with irresponsible pubs and people. All agencies, including local government and the police should first focus on how to ensure these are enforced with greater rigour and consistency.” The BBPA said that some of the figures from the independent reviews were not based on scientifically sound evidence and that it planned to highlight the points that seemed to be designed to deliberately show the industry in a negative light. Hastings said: “On promotions, the industry is being criticised for failing to do something that is against the law - enforce promotions standards. The Government know that while individual pub companies operate responsibility policies within their own business, it is illegal under competition law either for companies or trade associations to seek to apply or enforce agreements on promotions across the sector.”