Pubs un­fazed by lower drink-drive limit

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

TRADE in pubs has with­stood the low­er­ing of the drink-drive limit in Scot­land, new re­search has sug­gested.

Stir­ling Univer­sity aca­demics in­ter­viewed pubs, night­clubs and restau­rant man­agers, find­ing busi­nesses and cus­tomers have adapted to the changes, with less af­ter-work drink­ing and more leav­ing the pub ear­lier on week­days.

In 2014, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to re­duce the le­gal al­co­hol limit for driv­ing from 80mg to 50mg in ev­ery 100ml of blood.

Most of the 16 man­agers in­ter­viewed re­ported no long-term fi­nan­cial im­pact on their busi­ness, although ru­ral pubs were more likely to re­port a neg­a­tive eco­nomic im­pact.

The tighter restrictio­ns have also led to changes in pubs, with bars off­set­ting losses by in­tro­duc­ing a greater range of food and sell­ing drinks with no or lit­tle al­co­hol. Own­ers have also changed the pre­sen­ta­tion of drinks, with one ad­mit­ting to mak­ing a sparkling wa­ter “look like a gin and tonic”.

Stir­ling Univer­sity as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Ni­amh Fitzger­ald, who led the study, said: “The find­ings are of in­ter­na­tional rel­e­vance as lower drink-drive lim­its are be­ing con­sid­ered in other coun­tries, with de­bates in­clud­ing dis­cus­sions around the im­pact on busi­ness.

“We found a broad ac­cep­tance of the change in leg­is­la­tion, with most re­port­ing no per­sis­tent fi­nan­cial im­pact on their busi­nesses – de­spite some changes in cus­tomer be­hav­iour.”

One pub man­ager who was in­ter­viewed said: “We’re quite happy to change by what­ever means we have to do.

“If the drink-driv­ing limit has gone down then we need to of­fer dif­fer­ent things to at­tract folk in.”

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