Alcohol price plan scrapped

The Government has dropped plans for a minimum unit price for alcohol, Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne said.

Cancer charity pulls out of alcohol network over U-turn

Organisations including Cancer Research UK and the Faculty of Public Health have pulled out of the Government's alcohol network in response to its decision to scrap a minimum unit price.

The network's co-chairman Nick Sheron, the head of clinical hepatology at the University of Southampton, also withdrew from the group, which forms part of the public health responsibility deal.

The Government has dropped its plans for a minimum unit price for alcohol.
The Government has dropped its plans for a minimum unit price for alcohol. Credit: ITV News

They said in a joint statement: "It is perfectly clear that MUP [minimum unit price] has fallen victim to a concerted and shameful campaign of lobbying by sections of the drinks industry who are putting profits before health and public safety.

"If we are serious about reducing early deaths from harmful drinking in this country we need leadership from Government, not the drinks industry, to implement legislation where there is good evidence it will work."

Alcohol U-turn 'shows Government caved in to lobbying'

Alcohol Health Alliance UK said the decision 'confirms that the Government has caved in to lobbying from big business'.
Alcohol Health Alliance UK said the decision 'confirms that the Government has caved in to lobbying from big business'. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

Alcohol Health Alliance UK said the decision to scrap plans for a minimum unit price for alcohol "confirms that the Government has caved in to lobbying from big business."

Chairman Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said: "We know that minimum pricing will work and there is a huge level of support from frontline workers including doctors and the police.

"Alternative measures outlined in today's announcement will have little or no impact - they are just a smokescreen to hide how Government has turned its back on public health."

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Cameron calls alcohol plans 'a positive step forward'

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the measures announced today would end the sale of very cheap alcohol, calling them "a positive step forward".

Mr Cameron said the Government is "effectively" introducing a minimum alcohol price as "we are saying it's going to be illegal to sell alcohol below the rate of duty plus VAT".

David Cameron has insisted the measures announced today are a 'positive step forward'.
David Cameron has insisted the measures announced today are a 'positive step forward'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

He continued: "There's a degree of legal uncertainty - it's been introduced in Scotland but it's still under legal challenge - and there's also question marks about the evidence behind it and how well it can work.

"So when we have more evidence about how it can work and when we've got more certainty about the legal issues I think it's an idea that has merit, that I'll be happy to consider again."

Alcohol plan 'not taken forward at this time'

The Government's plans for a 45p minimum unit price for alcohol has been scrapped because there was not enough "concrete evidence" the plans would reduce the level of problem drinking without hitting those who drink responsibly.

File photo of cans of lager and cider on the shelves in an off-licence. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne also ruled out a ban on multi-buy promotions due to a "lack of convincing evidence" that it would have a significant effect on consumption.

He said: "There has been much speculation about the Government's plans on minimum unit pricing. This will remain a policy under consideration, but will not be taken forward at this time.

"We do not yet have enough concrete evidence that its introduction would be effective in reducing harms associated with problem drinking ... without penalising people who drink responsibly."