Government shies away from minimum alcohol pricing

17 July 2013 by
Government shies away from minimum alcohol pricing

The Government has shied away from introducing minimum alchol pricing, as it published its alcohol strategy.

Prime Minister David Cameron had been thought to be keen to push through a minimum price of 40p per unit.

But minister Jeremy Browne said that while the policy was still under consideration there were concerns that the change would hit responsible drinkers.

A ban on multi-buy promotions has also been rejected but sales will not be allowed below the cost of alcohol duty and VAT.

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) welcomed the news. Chairman Keith Bott said: "We welcome the government's announcement that it has decided not to introduce minimum unit pricing at this time.

"This is the approach advocated by SIBA in its submission to the government's consultation on Alcohol Policy. We felt, as the government clearly feels, that there is was not sufficient evidence that minimum unit pricing would counter problem drinking without penalising responsible drinkers.

"On the ban on below-cost selling, we would prefer to see a genuine measure of below-cost, rather than the tax and VAT included in today's announcement. This would, we believe, see an end to the most irresponsible alcohol promotions in supermarkets, without having a detrimental effect on beers that are sold, like the majority of our members' output, in the pub."

Meanwhile, Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, the social responsibility body for alcohol producers said: "We welcome the announcement that the Government will continue important partnership working with the drinks industry. Through a series of voluntary pledges aimed at improving public health, the industry has proven itself to be committed and willing partners and welcomes the opportunity to continue this successful approach going forward."

David Cameron to push through minimum alcohol pricing >>

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