The mandatory alcohol retailing code is “untargeted” and will place a “disproportionate burden” on the responsible majority, the British Beer and Pub Association has told members of the House of Lords, writes Ewan Turney. The code, which has yet to be rubber stamped in Parliament, will see pubs banned from running some drinks deals such as all-inclusives and the “dentist’s chair” from 6 April. From 1 October, asking ID from anyone who appears underage and offering smaller drinks measures will be compulsory. Although the BBPA stressed it supports enforcement against problem premises and a ban on irresponsible promotions, it warned these could be dealt with under existing legislation without punishing the responsible majority. It believes the code will cost the average pub £1,051 in the first year and £698 in subsequent years —costing the sector £58m in the first year and £38m thereafter. “Each of the conditions (of the code) can already be applied to individual premises by local licensing authorities, where they are deemed necessary to meet the licensing objectives,” it said. “The mandatory approach is untargeted and will affect all businesses with alcohol and entertainment licences, placing a disproportionate burden on the responsible majority. “The imposition of such significant costs on these businesses in a difficult economic climate, for the sake of a minority of irresponsible operators who should be dealt with under current laws, is questionable .” The BBPA said the code needs to provide “absolute clarity” on which promotions are deemed irresponsible and warned that forcing operators to ask for ID from anyone who looks under-18 could have the unintended consequence of undermining the Challenge-21 scheme. The BBPA is also pressing for a change to the draft code to clarify who is responsible if there is a breach of age verification procedures. It is concerned that the Premises Licence Holder, in many cases the pubco, could be held responsible for the actions of the licensee. It recommends changing the emphasis from a specific person — for example the Premises Licence Holder — to the premises.