Minimum alcohol pricing

Ministers have defended controversial plans to ban cheap deals on alcohol in England and Wales, insisting they would save hundreds of lives every year. The coalition is proposing a minimum alcohol price of 45p per unit and an end to multi-buy offers

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Ministers defend plans to increase the cost of alcohol

Ministers have defended controversial plans to ban cheap deals on booze and increase the cost of alcohol per unit, insisting they would save hundreds of lives every year, but also save the taxpayer millions of pounds by cutting crime and hospital admissions.

But critics argue that responsible consumers would suffer, with wine and spirit prices being pushed up. Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:


Retailers: New pricing rules unfair on most customers

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has hit out at the Government's plans to set a minimum price per unit on the cost of alcohol.

Andrew Opie, Food Director at the BRC said the new measures will not address the causes of irresponsible drinking, and will set a "dangerous precedent for Government interference in markets in the future."

Most major retailers believe minimum pricing and controls on promotions are unfair to most customers. They simply penalise the vast majority, who are perfectly responsible drinkers, while doing nothing to reduce irresponsible drinking.

Most people already drink less than recommended limits. There is no reason why they should be denied access to discounts. The Government should recognise the role of personal responsibility. It should not allow interfering in the market to regulate prices and promotions to become the default approach for public health policy.

New rules to stop weekend binge-drinking 'visions of hell'

Home Office Minister Damien Green dismissed suggestions that minimum pricing would have no impact on binge drinking. Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme he said:

Too many of us have seen city centres on a Friday and Saturday night often become a vision of hell. A lot of this is fuelled by very cheap, very strong alcohol.

The point of having a minimum unit price rather than, say, increasing taxation, is that you can target ... the shops that do deliberately sell very strong drink very cheaply.

It is just a fact of economics and indeed of life that if you put the price of a particular product up, demand for it goes down.

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