SCOTLAND'S alcohol sales laws are too complex, overburdened with red tape and in need of streamlining, according to a Government consultation.

The claims were made after the views of organisations such as councils, health boards, pub firms, supermarkets and charities along with the public were sought over wide-ranging plans to amend liquor laws.

They will help inform the new Licensing Bill, due to be introduced during this parliamentary year.

One of the recurring themes from respondents was "concerns at the complexity of the ­legislation and volume of ­amending legislation and ­secondary legislation".

In addition to the proposed Bill, two different acts cover the sale of liquor, such as opening times, who is permitted to sell alcohol and bans on discounts.

These have both been amended, leading to calls for them to be put under one umbrella via a "consolidated Act.

Other suggestions for reform include further restricting access to alcohol, as well as calls for greater standardisation of approach by different licensing boards.

Most respondents rejected proposals to enhance police powers and allow for the blanket closure of pubs and off-sales around football grounds due to disorder fears.

However, most were in favour of local authorities being able to impose conditions to opening hours to restrict the sale of alcohol around football matches.

Most who took part agreed with the suggestion that there was currently a problem with licence holders who do not have a reasonable command of English.

There were concerns about substitutes fraudulently undertaking personal licence holder tests on behalf of others for whom English is not their first language, both online tests and invigilated exams.

The most common suggestion to address the language issue was for exams to be taken in English, as well as having an English speaker on the premises at all times.

The Scottish Grocers' ­Federation, which represents hundreds of small and independent convenience stores, simply said there should be no more legislation in licensing.

Spokesman John Lees said: "There's simply too much and it's constantly changing. It's also badly drafted in the first place and continually altered due to the influence of the health lobby.

"Even before the Government has had time to digest the response to this consultation its off again with another ­licensing bill."

Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: "One of the main problems is we have about 40 different interpretations of the legislation because licensing boards can interpret it as they see relevant.

"There's not enough ­instruction from the centre. Overprovision of licensed premises is a case in point.

"Then we have a two-tier system where the big pub chains and supermarkets make ­challenges to the law."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The 2005 Act only came into force four years ago and in the main is working well. The consultation responses reflect this by making it clear people do not want to see a root-and-branch review of licensing legislation.

"However, there are areas that are not working as well as they should be. Rather than proposing any radical overhauls, we will look at these areas to find ways to improve the existing system."