LGA: 'Minimum pricing could lead to surge in counterfeit wines and spirits'

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Binge drinking, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Local government association, Lga

Warning: The LGA believes minimum pricing could lead to a surge in counterfeit wine and spirits
Warning: The LGA believes minimum pricing could lead to a surge in counterfeit wine and spirits
Introducing a minimum price for alcohol and banning discounted multi-buy deals could see a surge in counterfeit wines and spirits, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Speaking at the LGA’s Alcohol Strategy Conference yesterday (17 April), public health experts also said attempts to increase alcohol prices would also fail to curb binge drinking or tackle the associated anti-social behaviour and health problems it creates.
The Government has proposed a minimum price per unit of 40p on alcohol in a bid to tackle alcohol misuse in the UK, but the proposal has been met with scepticism both within Government, and across the pub and drinks industries.
Instead, the LGA wants to see reduced bureaucracy of the current licensing system to allow councils to act more quickly on residents’ concerns, local authorities given the power to decide locally how to spend the late-night levy on night clubs and bars, and local health experts given a say on the opening of new off-licenses selling cheap alcohol.
Cllr David Rogers, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “We are concerned that targeting cheap alcohol could push people to the black market and cheaper drinks. When drinking counterfeit brands, you can never be sure what you are putting into your body. People who think they are getting a bargain could end up making themselves blind or even drinking themselves to death.
“We know there is no simple solution to alcohol abuse but tackling cheap drinks is only one part of the problem. Focusing solely on making alcohol less affordable will fail to address the root causes of binge drinking as well as the nuisance, vandalism and risks to health it causes.
“National gestures like minimum pricing and banning multi-buy discounts will only go so far in deterring binge drinking and don’t take into account the varying issues in town and city centres across the country. We need to see councils given the powers and flexibility to tackle problems locally.
“We now need a system that allows local authorities to act on the concerns of the people in their area by saying ‘no’ to a new late night club on a street that is already saturated with them. We also want to see health experts given a say on whether the opening of a corner shop selling cheap booze could contribute to alcohol dependency in a particular area.”

Related topics: Wine, Spirits & Cocktails

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