Alcohol minimum price plan backed

By Tony Halstead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Minimum unit price, Beer

Supermarkets: cheap booze sold
Supermarkets: cheap booze sold
Health chiefs in Greater Manchester are to press ahead with plans for a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol. The region's Public Health Network (PHN)...

Health chiefs in Greater Manchester are to press ahead with plans for a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol.

The region's Public Health Network (PHN) has secured the backing of 10 local councils to put the case to Government to allow implementation of minimum pricing through local bylaws.

During a visit to Manchester in August, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "very supportive" of the plan and would "look at it very sympathetically", although he feared it could breach competition law.

Two neighbouring regions, Cheshire and Merseyside, are interested in introducing similar bylaws.

The 50p minimum price would mean a standard-size bottle of 12% ABV wine could not be sold for less than £4.50 and six 500ml cans of 4% ABV lager could not retail for less than £6, according to the PHN.

PHN alcohol programme manager Mike Jones claimed a minimum price would cut consumption by 6.9% per drinker — leading to 97,000 fewer hospital admissions.

"We will seek all powers to be the first conurbation in England to implement such a scheme," Jones said.

Enforcement

The British Beer & Pub Association's (BBPA's) northern secretary Lee Le Clercq said: "The reality is that, without a minimum price we have seen an 11% cut in alcohol consumption in the past seven years and yet, according to the health lobby, deaths and hospital admissions are still on the rise. They really can't have it both ways."

At a separate debate on minimum pricing last week, Councillor Nilgun Canver, who deals with licensing issues at the Local Government Group, voiced concerns over the Government's proposed ban on alcohol sales below VAT plus duty.

"It's not clear how minimum pricing will be enforced. If the Government's thinking is it will be local government they have to talk to us and they haven't done that. I'm very concerned."

Related topics: Legislation

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