Ex-minister 'disappointed' at government's minimum price failure

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Minimum price Westminster system

A former government minister has revealed he is disappointed that recommendations to introduce a minimum price for alcohol have been ignored. Keith...

A former government minister has revealed he is disappointed that recommendations to introduce a minimum price for alcohol have been ignored.

Keith Vaz MP, Home Affairs Select Committee chairman and former Europe Minister, was speaking at a Parliamentary debate into policing last week.

He revealed he was pleased with the government's plans to tackle irresponsible promotions with a mandatory code of practice but does not think the measures go far enough.

In reference to the committee's Policing in the 21st Century report, published last year, Vaz said: "We supported the principle of mandatory contributions to policing from alcohol retainers; we advocated that the practice of loss leading should be ended; and we felt that it was important that there should be compulsory, and not voluntary, standards for the alcohol industry. I welcome the government's recent steps."

But he added: "However, we are disappointed that the government has failed to take up our recommendations in a few key areas, notably around minimum pricing for alcohol."

He quoted the figure of 50p per unit alcohol sold which he said would result in 3,400 fewer deaths and 100,00 fewer hospital admissions a year. The move would mean a bottle of wine could not be sold for less than £4 and a an average six-pack of lager would cost around £6.

The Publican​ is also calling for a minimum price of 50p per unit in our Make it the Minimum​ campaign to help bring an end to irresponsible off trade deals.

Vaz added: "The Policing and Crime Bill introduces some measures towards reducing alcohol-related harm—for example, it increases the maximum fine for consuming alcohol in a designated public place—but the Committee feels that they are not sufficient. I am sure the Minister will give us more information when he replies. We welcome what the government have done so far, but we believe they need to go much further."

Vaz is also one of 41 MPs to have signed Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne's early day motion​ calling for a minimum price.

The Policing and Crime Bill is currently making its way through Parliament.

Related topics Legislation

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