Information released by the Liberal Democrats shows that almost a quarter of businesses tested by councils were willing to sell tobacco or knives to underage children.
The Liberal Democrat survey of over 100 County and Unitary councils showed that:
- 22% of shops and pubs tested by councils sold tobacco to underage children
- But the proportion of offending businesses prosecuted or fined because of this has fallen to just one in seven
- One quarter of shops tested agreed to sell knives to underage children (down from almost half of shops in 2004/05)
- One in six businesses were willing to sell alcohol to underage children and under half of these received a fine, were prosecuted or had their licence revoked, suspended or altered in any way
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Julia Goldsworthy said:
“Too many shopkeepers are getting away scot-free with selling knives, cigarettes and alcohol to underage children.
“We need to send a strong message to those who are ignoring these important age regulations. The limits are in place to protect children but if nothing is done to enforce them, the Government is failing in this duty.”