Below-cost alcohol ban to be rolled out this month

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beer, Alcoholic beverage

The ban means supermarkets must charge at least 41p for a can of4%  beer
The ban means supermarkets must charge at least 41p for a can of4% beer
A ban on selling alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT is expected to come into force by the end of May.

The PMA understands the Government approved the order yesterday meaning it will have to be implemented within the next two weeks.

Under the regulation a 440ml can of 4% ABV beer will now have to cost at least 41p, a 750ml bottle of 11.5% ABV wine will cost at least £2.41, while at least £13.55 must be charged for a litre of 40% ABV spirits.

Failure to comply with the new regulations, which would take the form of mandatory licence conditions, may result in a licence review or closure notice.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The coalition government is determined to tackle alcohol-fuelled harm, which costs society around £21 billion a year.

“The ban on the sale of alcohol below duty plus VAT will stop the worst examples of very cheap and harmful drink and is part of a wide range of action we are taking. The ban will come into effect as soon as parliamentary time allows.”

Right direction

Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director for the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said the move was "a step in the right direction" towards tackling the problem of very cheap alcohol.

She said: "Figures released by the Government last year showed that between them 6 out of 7 supermarkets sell a staggering 220 million litres of alcohol below cost each year. The new legislation will finally address this – but it will only tackle the very worst excesses.

“With more than 70% of alcohol now consumed away from the safe, supervised environment of a pub or bar - and the latest research showing two thirds of consumers citing price as the main factor behind that – we need swift, tough and effective action not only to tackle pocket money prices but to impose the same regulation of promotional activity in the off trade as pubs, clubs and bars currently face.  We cannot go on allowing a tide of cheap alcohol to undermine the good work responsible pub and bar operators are doing to deliver the Government’s public health and public order agenda.”

Related topics: Licensing law

Related news

Show more