Code to crackdown on cheap supermarket lager

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cheap supermarket deals Alcoholic beverage

Cheap supermarket deals on lager could be outlawed under the government's controversial mandatory code of practice, a Home Office minister has...

Cheap supermarket deals on lager could be outlawed under the government's controversial mandatory code of practice, a Home Office minister has revealed.

Alan Campbell, the minister overseeing the code, said today measures would be included to crackdown on off-trade deals that encourage people to buy more than they normally would.

"We are looking at a measure which will affect supermarkets, which says if you do want to discount alcohol it must not encourage people to buy more," he said.

Campbell referred to supermarket deals on "crates of lager where the first one costs £10 for 12 bottles" and the second is cheaper, suggesting this type of offer would fall foul of the code.

Many in the trade had feared the code would be firmly focussed on the on-trade, but today's comments appear to offer hope the supermarkets could also face a major crackdown.

"What we don't want are people to buy more simply because it's cheap," Campbell said.

He was speaking during the launch of an unofficial public consultation​ on the code, set up by Labour MP Sally Keeble.

The code, part of the Policing and Crime Bill, will include up to nine national mandatory conditions covering alcohol sales and include new rules on irresponsible promotions, such as "all you can drink" and "women drink free" nights, and could see pubs being forced to offer 125ml wine measures.

Campbell added the official public consultation on the code was being launched soon and would contain "proportionate and reasonable measures".

However he later warned, in response to a question from The Publican​, that "irresponsible deals" were not solely an off-trade or on trade problem.

"It's a problem and we need to look at with a joined-up approach," Campbell said. However he avoided answering how he expected the supermarket giants to react to being told how they can sell alcohol.

On minimum pricing, the minister reiterated that the government would not be introducing the measure for the time being, adding: "At this stage, I'm not a great fan of it."

However he said the issue was "still on the table and being discussed".

Earlier at the launch event, Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said he did not think the drinks industry should be blamed for problems around alcohol, adding: "They are carrying out a lawful business in society".

He later added he believed there were already enough laws around alcohol already. "Alcohol is not necessarily the problem per se, it's how people deal with it," he said.

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