A supermarket beer offer which has seen bottles of lager being sold for less than 50p has prompted the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) to call for a Government ban on the "below tax" sale of beer.
The ALMR said Asda's latest promotion, selling boxes of Budweiser containing 24 300ml bottles for £11 was "irresponsible". This means beer is being sold for the equivalent of 87p a pint. Last year, the supermarket pledged to the Government it would not sell alcohol below duty plus VAT.
Kate Nicholls, ALMR strategic affairs director, said: "A year ago the Government vowed to bring in a ban on below-tax sales, but we are still waiting for this to happen. This offer highlights the need for a ban not only to be implemented, but also the current duty plus VAT definition extended - as a matter of urgency.
"In addition, we would urge the Government to go further by applying extra controls on off-trade sales. The 2003 Licensing Act effectively swept away controls on siting, promotions and bulk purchases in shops."
Nicholls added: "Unless there are additional controls beyond the below-tax ban, the Government's health priorities will continue to be fatally undermined."
The ALMR said it wanted to see: restrictions on bulk or wholesale volume purchases; a ban on irresponsible promotions and the use of price in advertising; and alcohol to be sold in certain aisles only.
By Neil Gerrard
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