Welsh Government to 'seriously consider' minimum pricing

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Minimum unit price Public health Minimum alcohol pricing Wales United kingdom

Last month the UK Government shelved plans to introduce the measure
Last month the UK Government shelved plans to introduce the measure
Wales could implement its own policy on minimum alcohol pricing, the Welsh Government has confirmed, after health minister Mark Drakeford admitted he was “disappointed” by the Coalition’s lack of action on the proposal.

The Welsh Government confirmed to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ that it was seriously considering whether Wales could seek its own powers on the public health issue, a month after the UK Government ditched plans for minimum pricing in favour of a ban on sales below the combined cost of VAT and duty.

Drakeford said he has instructed officials to look at the powers Wales has in relation to the measure.

“I was very disappointed that, on a UK level, plans which we thought were coming along have not been included in the UK Government’s programme,” he said.

“We in Wales always wanted a four-country way forward in both of these matters, but now we have to rethink that approach.

Move ahead

“I will work over the summer on the best way to deal with some of these big public health issues and I have asked my officials and the Chief Medical Officer to give me advice on what our powers are and if it is possible for us to move ahead with those.

“Neither area is straightforward as far as legal powers are concerned, but the Welsh Government continues to explore both as we develop proposals to take forward the public health agenda.”

Last November, the Home Office proposed a minimum unit price of 45p in England and Wales, claiming this would lead to a 3.3% reduction in consumption, a 5,240 fall in the annual number of crimes, a 24,600 drop in alcohol-related hospital admissions, and 714 fewer deaths per year.

However, last month Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Jeremy Browne said the policy would remain “under consideration” but there was not enough concrete evidence that the change would tackle the problem without penalising responsible drinkers.

Last year Scotland were also due to introduce a minimum price of alcohol, but the measure has been put on hold due to legal challenges.

Related topics Legislation

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