Pubs, bars and clubs have been criticised for their “irresponsible and harmful practices” in a new report commissioned by the government. The study by auditors KPMG, which is due to be released tomorrow, found that supermarkets were complying more fully with voluntary standards than the on-trade as they displayed signs encouraging sensible drinking and Challenge-21 messages. The on-trade was condemned for admitting under-18s, encouraging cut-price alcohol promotions and serving intoxicated customers. The report titled Review of the Social Responsibility Standards for the Production and Sale of Alcoholic Drinks concluded that the industry’s self-regulating code was “not fit for purpose”, as it was not consistently adopted, applied or monitored. It recommended strengthening the code, setting up a new regulatory body or mandatory regulation led by local government. The Home Office had previously said that it would introduce legislation if standards were not met and the result could see the government introduce a ban on happy hours, premises forced to offer smaller alcoholic measures and a minimum alcohol price. Trade body the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) responded to the report saying that the findings were not based on hard data and had ignored previous research. Rob Hayward, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “We have not yet seen the report, but from extracts we have seen, it seems long on anecdotal stories and short on hard empirical evidence. “It totally ignores existing hard evidence from the repeated government sting operations, which have visited thousands of pubs in recent years. Those reports, while identifying some problems, have tracked consistent improvement in standards and high levels of good practice. “On underage sales, this report merely says they thought some people appeared to be under 18. They didn’t actually check whether any were. Again, the hard data presents a different picture.” Paul Smith, executive director of Noctis, described the report as farcical and highlighted that under 1% of trade premises had been visited. Smith said: “To say there has been systematic failure is absolute nonsense and farcical. Pubs, bars and clubs are on the radar of police and if they had stepped out of line and if there had been systematic failure, then they would have been closed. “The report was compiled over a very short period of time and they visited under 1% of on-trade premises. We don't know how they chose these venues and from first glance the methods they used to judge underage people and whether people were intoxicated seem very unscientific.” The report, which was based on visits to 600 pubs, bars, nightclubs, off-licences and supermarkets in England over a five-day period, found that other practices observed frequently in licensed premises included poor dispersal policies, health and safety issues such as broken glass and spilled alcohol and instances of anti-social behaviour.