The consultation, due on Wednesday according to reports, is thought to recommend three possible prices for each unit of 40p, 45p or 50p. The minimum pricing policy has been strongly backed by health professionals: last week the Alcohol Health Alliance wrote to the Sunday Times urging the government to set the unit price at 50p to protect the heaviest drinkers and those around them, including children.
However, the plans by David Cameron to introduce a minimum price and ban supermarket multi-buy booze deals looks like a certain vote loser, according to a new study of UK consumers.
A report released today by Zolfo Cooper, the advisory and restructuring specialist, reveals a significant majority of people are against a national minimum price per unit of alcohol, with 60% saying they were against such a move.
The research of more than 2,000 consumers revealed that Britons love the discounted alcohol deals deployed by the nation’s grocery chains to drive people to their stores. When asked ‘do you think supermarkets should be prevented from discounting the price of alcohol to attract customers to visit their stores?’ 60% of respondents said no.
Paul Hemming, partner at Zolfo Cooper, said: “Many pub and bar operators are having the life squeezed out of them by a combination of cheap supermarket booze and escalating duties. The government will not want to become even more unpopular by increasing supermarket prices so the focus needs to be on getting a fairer deal on VAT and duties."
The report – the fifth study of consumer habits in the leisure sector – also revealed that most consumers do not pay attention to their alcohol consumption, with just 22% keeping track of units consumed.