At a debate on the Government’s alcohol strategy in London, Asda’s external affairs and corporate responsibility director Paul Kelly urged Parliament to focus on “breathing new life into the Responsibility Deal” rather than “fixating” on minimum pricing.
He explained that introducing minimum pricing could lead to the next three years in courts deciding whether or not it is legal, as in Scotland. However, if Government focuses on a voluntary agreement, “we could be celebrating the reduction in consumption”. The drinks industry has pledged to drop one billion units of alcohol out of the market by 2013 as part of the Responsibility Deal.
Kelly said: “There’s a danger that the fixation on minimum pricing will have done nothing in this time.
“Maybe the Government will learn the definition of deal — drop minimum pricing in return for industry taking two billion of units out of the market and deliver it in the next three years, rather than argue about minimum pricing.”