A minimum price per unit of alcohol will be introduced in England and Wales alongside plans to ban the sale of multi-buy discount deals, the Prime Minister has announced.David Cameron said he was making "no excuses" for clamping down on the country's drink problem but admitted minimum pricing would not be "universally popular".
Chris Ship, ITV News' senior political correspondent, has this report:
The move to set minimum prices for alcohol predictably has been met with opposition from the drinks industry.
Retailers and drinks firms said the policy was also at odds with the "responsibility deal" between alcohol companies and the Government, overseen by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
Gavin Partington of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association has said that the unit pricing will not tackle 'problem drinkers.'
The opposition have responded to the plans too. The Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, claims the Government is trying to cover a bad budget by rushing through 'something which is so serious' with little notice to MP's, during a debate on the alcohol strategy.
The Government for their part deny this and claim the plans are a sensible step to tackling alcohol abuse which will not affect responsible drinkers.
The Government's plans are part of an entire 'alcohol strategy' which covers:
- Introducing minimum pricing for alcohol
- A ban on bulk-buying price promotions, which the Government will consult on
- Involve communities in decisions about licensing by:
- Piloting 'sobriety schemes' to try and tackle alcohol-related offending
- Charging clubs to cover the cost of extra policing
- Doubling the fine for shops selling alcohol to children, bringing it to £20,000
- Encourage the drinks industry to provide a wider choice of lower strength drinks
- Giving more information on unit and calorie counts on packaging
- Ensuring product placement and marketing is 'more responsible'
- Supporting people who want to change their drinking habits by:
- Providing £448 million to ' turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families'
- Providing services for treatment and recovery for people with alcohol problems