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Licensees in North East support minimum unit pricing for alcohol

By Michelle Perrett , 23-Nov-2012
Last updated on 23-Nov-2012 at 09:57 GMT2012-11-23T09:57:15Z

Licensees in North East support  minimum unit pricing for alcohol

The sale of cheap alcohol in supermarkets is the key reason for the declining trade in pubs a survey by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, has stated.

The research of more than 200 pubs has showed that eight in ten landlords admitted that supermarket price promotions have damaged business over the last five years.

As a result, seven in ten north east publicans support the introduction of a minimum unit price to close the price gap between pubs and supermarkets.

A number of prominent north east pub owners, along with the British Institute of Innkeeping which has 400 members in the region, have made their views known to Government.

They have written to Michael Fallon MP, Business and Enterprise Minister, asking him to back small business and put his weight behind a minimum unit price of at least 50p per unit.

Tony Brookes, managing director of the Head of Steam said: “Not only are these prices diverting our trade and damaging our livelihood, they mean that people are rolling into town drunk, posing a greater risk to themselves and others, including our staff who are legally prevented from serving anyone who has drunk too much.

“The Government has an ideal opportunity to protect small business by closing the huge price gap that exists between supermarkets and community pubs. If they are serious about protecting us, we need a minimum unit price of at least 50p, which will have a meaningful impact on cheap supermarket alcohol, while having no effect on pub prices. That’s why I’ve written to Mr Fallon asking him to bring his influence to bear and protect the Great British community pub.”

Richard Slade, regional chair of the BII, said: “We can’t and won’t compete with the prices being offered by supermarkets. Hundreds of pubs have closed in the North East and we feel that the widespread availability of cheap alcohol at supermarkets is a major factor.

“We really have had enough – it’s time to tackle the problems caused by cheap alcohol. It’s time to introduce a minimum unit price of at least 50p per unit of alcohol, which will enable us to compete and end this culture of pre-loading.”

North east publicans have also joined forces with Balance to help customers understand what a minimum unit price will mean and participating pubs have received beer mats and posters encouraging customers to visit www.balancenortheast.co.uk/mup
The research also revealed:

  •  49% of those surveyed experienced a fall in profits over the last year
  •  33% predict that this decline will continue over the next 12 months
  •  82% of those surveyed say supermarket price promotions have affected trade in the last five years. Of these:
  •  73% say supermarket price promotions encourage customers to come out later
  •  46% say they lead to customers arriving drunk
  •  43% say they have stopped people coming out
  •  45% say they’ve resorted to offering drinks promotions to counteract supermarket promotions
  •  70% of publicans surveyed support a minimum unit price. Of these:
  •  71% think it will be good for business turnover and profit
  •  63% think it will have a positive impact on crime and disorder
  •  80% of publicans think that the minimum 50p per unit proposed for Scotland is either just right, or too low.

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