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MPs call for ban on pub happy hours and cheap supermarket booze

10 November 2008 by
MPs call for ban on pub happy hours and cheap supermarket booze

Pub happy hours should be banned and supermarkets stopped from selling alcohol as a loss leader, according to an influential group of MPs.

In a report on stretched police resources, the Home Affairs Select Committee also said one solution to problem drinking would be legislation setting a minimum price on alcohol.

Ministers said they would "look carefully" at the report's recommendations, which would apply to England and Wales.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, said retailers must end a "pile it high, sell it cheap" culture around alcohol.

"We cannot have, on one hand, a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder and, on the other, the police diverting all their resources to cope with it," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Happy hours lead to unhappy communities. Loss leaders in supermarkets cause real misery to city centres on a Saturday night."

Meanwhile, pubs were given a boost this weekend when it emerged that those operators that were badly hit by the smoking ban could be in line for reductions in their business rates, potentially worth thousands of pounds a year.

The decision has come about because tax inspectors, after consulting legal counsel, now accept that the smoking ban represents a "material change" to the trading position of pubs.

Beer group wants minimum price on all alcohol sales>>

Pub company Shepherd Neame unconvinced of merits of minimum pricing>>

Tory MP tables EDM to ban cheap supermarket booze>>

Scottish Government plans supermarket booze crackdown>>

For the full story on the reduction in rates>>

For the full story on the Select Committee report>>

For more news, analysis and comment on binge drinking>>

By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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