Hove MP speaks up for small shops over proposed tobacco display ban

Posted On 17 Sep 2010 at 3:09 pm

Hove MP Mike Weatherley has spoken up for shopkeepers as officials prepare to enforce new laws brought in by the previous government.

Mr Weatherley asked a parliamentary question about the proposed tobacco display ban which is due to come into force from 2013.

He asked Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to say how much money councils could expect to lose from shops closing as a result of the ban.

Labour ministers introducing the ban hoped that it would lead to fewer cigarettes and less tobacco being sold.

Many shops will also have to pay for refits as a result of the change in the law.

Mr Weatherley also asked the Government to estimate the effect of a tobacco display ban on the number of shops locally and nationally.

Fellow Conservative Anne Milton, the Public Health Minister, replied.

She said: “We are not aware of any evidence that removing tobacco displays will affect the number of retail outlets.

“However, we will continue to consider any evidence that emerges about the effects of the legislation in other countries.”

Mr Weatherley said: “I was hoping that the Labour Government had done some research before putting this legislation through but they hadn’t.

“There’s anecdotal evidence in Canada suggesting 15 per cent of shops closed after similar legislation.”

He said that the shops most at risk were small traders without the means to fund research into the issue themselves.

He said: “It will probably mean the only way of coming up with evidence is if the tobacco industry funds some research but that won’t have the same credibility.

“I’m anti-smoking. I don’t support the tobacco industry but I do support local retailers.”

He hopes to learn within two to three weeks whether the Coalition Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government will modify the law before it comes into force.

At the end of August Mr Weatherley told Retail Newsagent magazine: “After hearing what retailers said, I felt we didn’t want to see a load of closures on the high street at this particular time, quite apart from the impact on local authority revenues this might have, or the damage to consumer choice of shoppers who want to go to a local shop.

“We want to protect independent retailers.

“I don’t want the Government to hide behind the fact that they didn’t do a survey earlier on.

“If I do get the facts, I can raise my voice accordingly.”

  1. Chris Rendall Reply

    I am sick and tired of how our government conducts itself. What is the point of these pointless new display laws? People are going to smoke whether you have displays or not, but what it will do is to encourage a lot more smuggling from other countries. Our country has far more pressing issues to deal with, so why don’t they just get there finger out and start producing proper results like schools and libraries?
    Owing to government cutbacks,some of our libraries and nurseries face closure. I’ve a better idea. Create more libraries, and nurseries. Reduce the amount of members of parliament in Westminster,cut politicians and bankers pay,and put the government on a performance related salary scheme.

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