Majority of publicans back plans for minimum pricing of alcohol

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum pricing, Public house, Controversy

Majority of publicans back plans for minimum pricing of alcohol
The majority of licensees in England and Wales support plans to introduce a minimum price on alcohol, according to a national survey by the BII (British Institute of Innkeeping).

A poll of 345 licensee members revealed that almost four in five (77%) agreed with the concept of a national minimum price.

Of those who were in favour, 81% said the actual price level should come in at 50p per unit of alcohol.
Only 17% preferred the Government’s proposed lev-el of 40p per unit, while 2% believed it should be set at 30p per unit.

The findings were part of a survey of BII members designed to investigate the reasons for the on-going fall in alcohol sales in pubs.

It revealed that 83% of licensees believe the knock-down price of many alcohol products sold in supermarkets is one of the main reasons for the decline in the on-trade.

Peter Thomas, chief executive of the BII, said: “The frontline of the pub industry has spoken and it is clear that the majority of our members are in favour of minimum pricing and of establishing the level of minimum price at 50p per unit of alcohol.

“We will be making the Government aware of our research in an advisory capacity. This is not about BII lobbying the Government, but it is important that we represent the views of business people who run pubs
up and down the country, and whose livelihoods are directly affected by this.”

The controversial issue of minimum pricing has divided the industry.

Recently, the Office of Fair Trading and the Local Government Association raised concerns about the consequences of such a move in their submissions to the health select committee in-vestigation into the Government’s Alcohol Strategy.

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has accused minimum-pricing supporters of failing to recognise the negative impact such a regulation will have on the sector.

He believes this will just mean greater profits for supermarkets. Martin went on to accuse campaigners of being “flat-earthers”.

Meanwhile Greene King, the most high-profile brewer and pub operator to support minimum pricing, recently called on the Government to follow the lead of Scotland and set the level at 45p to 50p per unit to avoid
the emergence of “booze cruises” between the different UK countries.

Other BII study findings: Other survey responses on the decline of alcohol sales in members’ premises

  • 46.4% said the main reason was down to cheap alcohol provided by supermarkets.
  • 12.3% blamed the decline on people drinking at home more.
  • 3.6% put it down to the smoking ban.
  • 17.2% blamed increasing alcohol prices in the pub.
  • Slightly more than 90% strongly agreed that supermarkets are free to promote cheap alcohol, whereas pubs are too tightly controlled in comparison.
  • 13.6% disagreed with the concept of minimum pricing.

Related topics: Other operators

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