Calls for free proof of age cards
The Scottish Grocers' Federation (SGF) has cited responsible sale of alcohol and free proof of age cards as its top priorities for this year's Scottish elections, calling on politicians to change attitudes and protect retail staff.

The SGF Retail Manifesto 2007 - which sets out the demands of Scotland's 6,000 convenience retailers - calls for MSPs to tackle spiralling retail crime, protect town centres and promote healthy eating.

SGF chief executive officer John Drummond said: 'Despite these threats to the future of convenience retailing, policing the sale of alcohol and other age restricted products is the number one threat to our business.

'Tackling Scotland's attitudes towards carrying ID and improving access to proof of age for youngsters will remove many conflict situations from Scottish convenience stores and support retailers

'Incidents of threats, violence, racism and abuse are all too common when some customers are challenged about their age. Often the worst incidents occur when people of legal age take offence at a request for ID.

'Staff need and deserve the protection that a comprehensive proof of age scheme will provide. It is time to bring balance to the legislative burden placed on retailers. Industry initiatives can only go so far, Government leadership is crucial.'

The Scottish Parliamentary and local Government elections are held on May 3.

The SGF is calling for:

· A compulsory proof of age card to be free to all 15- to 25-year-olds in Scotland

· Strict targets to achieve 100 per cent coverage of all eligible young people by 2009, when the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 comes into force

· A public awareness campaign to encourage consumers to carry ID, to reduce the incidents of threats, violence and abuse when shoppers are asked to prove their age