Dave Daly, who manages the Stonegate-owned Castle Hotel in the Lancashire seaside resort, admitted that whilst there is a “dark side” to minimum-pricing schemes, they can help create safer drinking environments.
He told the PMA that a voluntary minimum-pricing scheme has been in place in Blackpool for the past 12 years, with pubs involved currently agreeing to sell drinks for no less than £2 during the week and £3 at weekends.
It comes after concern was raised by delegates at the National Pubwatch conference in London last month about the dangers of minimum-pricing schemes.
British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) regional secretary for northern England Lee Le Clercq warned “such practices can only end in tears” and should only be implemented if and when parliamentary legislation is introduced.
National Pubwatch chairman Steve Baker agreed that licensees could face the legal consequences of running such a scheme because it may be considered as an unlawful cartel as it breaks competition law.
But Daly does not believe there is any danger in towns adopting their own schemes. “Who is going to take us to court when we are doing society a favour?”, he said.
“The BBPA must understand that there are lots of different drinking habits in different towns, and there is a range of tools we can use to create safer drinking environments. Minimum-pricing is one of those tools.
“We believe in it in Blackpool and it has worked. There wasn’t any police pressure, and we get good margins.
“We know there is a little bit of a dark side to it but we have to slow down drinkers somehow.”
Do you have a minimum-pricing scheme operating in your area? Are you part of the scheme? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .