By Daniel Hunter

A new Age Restricted Products Code of Practice published today (Thursday) will strengthen the protection of young people and reduce red tape for responsible businesses that sell age restricted products safely, legally and profitably.

Ending inconsistent regulation of sales of products, including alcoholic drinks and cigarettes, will allow local authorities to focus resources on dealing with rogue traders and build closer partnerships with retailers and the police.

As part of the Government’s drive to eliminate the bureaucracy that holds back growth, practices such as routine test purchasing, not informing retailers if they have passed or failed a test purchase, and targeting businesses without evidence that they are selling products to under-age customers, will be consigned to history.

The code provides guidance that will encourage regulators to give advice in clear, accessible language in a variety of formats, ensure legal requirements are explained clearly and fully, direct additional support towards new businesses, and to work closely with local initiatives including Town Centre Partnerships, Local Enterprise Partnerships and regional tobacco control groups.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“Businesses tell us that over-complicated regulation of age restricted products is not protecting young people effectively.

“This important code recognises the vital role of the business community in upholding standards, while giving local authorities more freedom to clamp down on those that break the law. Making responsible retailers part of the solution will keep these products out of the wrong hands and help boost local economies.”

The Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO), an independent unit within the Business, Innovation and Skills Department, has developed the new code in partnership with businesses and regulators. It builds on previous LACORS guidance and incorporates lessons learned from successful collaborations between local councils, police and businesses around the country.

The publication of the code is part of government action to cut red tape following feedback from businesses taking part in the Red Tape Challenge. Two reports published today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show that the government is making substantial progress in stripping away red tape in the retail and manufacturing sectors.

The Department has already scrapped nearly two-thirds of the 165 retail regulations, including outdated product safety regulations, and scrapped and improved half of the 66 manufacturing regulations which were identified for reform as part of the Red Tape Challenge. The Government aims to remove half of the 6,500 regulations that impact on business.

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