Colchester pub and club owners say new laws which prevent them running drinks promotions are confusing.Well, of course they are! First rule of warfare - keep your enemy off balance.
Licensees say it is unclear if the restrictions meant pubs can no longer run “happy hour” promotions during which drinks are offered more cheaply for a short time.Oh, no! Because then you might not do something that they'd rather you did do. So they can fine you for it.
Mr Watson explained: “We think it means you can no longer run a happy hour promo, so any promotions you operate will have to run for the entire session, rather than a limited period .
“But we need to confirm that, so we know exactly what we can and can’t do.”
Ralph Davis, owner of the Brewers Arms in Colchester, said: “Some of what has been introduced is black and white and some of it is not very clear at all.Surely you aren't saying that a government packed to the gunnels with lawyers is incapable of writing clear legislation that cannot be abused by people with a hidden agenda, are you, Ralph?
“They don’t really stipulate what they are saying – it is very much left to us to work out what to do.”
Because that's crazy talk!
Simon Harvey, licensing manager for Colchester Council, agreed the legislation was “unclear”.Get with the programme, Simon!
He said: “What you want from the guidance is for it to be definitive and clear. Personally, I’m not sure it is clear what the new law actually is.
“We need to talk to the police and Trading Standards to come up with some opinions on this. We don’t want people putting their own interpretations on the new laws and getting it wrong.”
That is exactly what some people want.