Minimum price plan 'on the table' in Northern Ireland

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Northern ireland, Belfast

Northern Ireland will be the first place in the UK to impose a minimum price - if a minister gets his way. Stormont social development minister Alex...

Northern Ireland will be the first place in the UK to impose a minimum price - if a minister gets his way.

Stormont social development minister Alex Attwood has confirmed that the "plan is firmly on the table" and that he hopes "Northern Ireland is the first legislature in these Islands to introduce effective minimum pricing".

The statement marks a u-turn by Attwood who dismissed calls for a minimum price in September after initially appearing keen to introduce it to help tackle cheap alcohol promotions.

Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly earlier this month about plans to tackle alcohol related disorder Attwood said: "In the very near future we intend to launch a consultation on the minimum pricing of alcohol.

"It is the most important tool for us to begin to create greater discipline around the purchase and consumption of alcohol."

Attwood revealed that he had met Scottish National Party leaders, whose bid to introduce a minimum price was overthrown last year.

Speaking about amendments to the Licensing and Registration of Clubs Bill, which is working its way through the Assembly, Attwood also revealed plans to tackle irresponsible promotions.

This included a ban or restriction on deals such as 'buy one get one free' and providing unlimited alcohol for a fixed entry charge to a venue.

Karen Sheppard, manager at the Duke of York in Belfast's Commercial Court, welcomed the moves to tackle irresponsible deals.

She said: "We do not run promotions and we try to attract a more adult market rather than go for price.

"We would not be sad to see the back of those types of promotions because it can bring in anti-social behaviour.

"Equally minimum pricing would force the supermarkets to be more responsible with their pricing."

Related topics: Legislation

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