Alcohol Concern: minimum price is the only way

By Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Cider

Supermarkets: favour the duty plus VA definition of below cost
Supermarkets: favour the duty plus VA definition of below cost
The duty on cider would need to increase by 660% if a ban on below-cost sales is to achieve the same effect as a minimum price of 50p per unit....

The duty on cider would need to increase by 660% if a ban on below-cost sales is to achieve the same effect as a minimum price of 50p per unit.

That's according to Alcohol Concern, using a below-cost definition of below the cost of VAT and duty, as favoured by the supermarkets and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Alcohol Concern is instead calling for the introduction of a 50p a unit minimum price and a "restructuring" of duty rates across the board.

Under its minimum price proposals a two-litre bottle of Frosty Jack cider containing 15 units would jump from £2.98 to £7.50 and a bottle of own-brand scotch whisky (40 units) would increase from £14.97 to £20.

Alcohol Concern analysed a number of alcoholic products sold by Asda for its figures.

"We'd argue that a ban on below-cost sales — VAT and duty — would not be a very effective way forward as alcohol could still be sold very cheaply," said chief executive Don Shenker.

A two litre bottle of Frosty Jack cider could still be sold legally for 78p and a four-pack of Carlsberg for £1.36.

"This makes a nonsense of banning the sale of alcohol below duty and VAT.

"We found that especially for cider the increase needed was huge because the rate of duty is so low. It is not feasible for cider tax to stay as it is. We would like to see a better tax structure.

"On the plus side there would be fewer crimes, hospital admissions and deaths and the pub trade will be able to compete with supermarkets again, which it can't at the moment.

"We want heavy drinkers to pay, not moderate drinkers," he added.

The Government is currently considering how best to bring about its promised ban on below cost sales.

Related topics: Legislation

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