Supermarkets 'just giving away' alcohol, says peer

By Ruth Williams

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: House of lords

Cut-price supermarket alcohol offers have been branded irresponsible
Cut-price supermarket alcohol offers have been branded irresponsible
Supermarkets that offer low price alcohol in promotions were dubbed irresponsible in a debate at The House of Lords earlier this week relating to changes to be made to the mandatory licensing conditions.

To address irresponsible drinking, four areas that require tighter conditions relating to drinks promotions were outlined. These include the provision of free water, the adoption and application of age verification policies, and the provision of small measures at licensed premises.

However, Lord Kennedy of Southwark said off-trade promotions should be addressed to reduce alcohol related crime: “When I go shopping at the weekend or on a bank holiday and walk past the beer mountain at the entrance to the shop, I always look at the price of it. They are just giving it away. That, too, is irresponsible, and perhaps we should look at that as well.”

He said irresponsible promotions in supermarkets contributed to people drinking at home, which “can lead to violence against women.”

“There are issues with people drinking at home and the problems that arise from that,” he said.


The debate was raised by Lord Popat to examine the provisions to be made. He stated that the cost of alcohol-fuelled crime in England and Wales is £11 bn, which he called “unacceptable”.

Popat said: “Licensed premises have a part to play in reducing alcohol-related crime by ensuring that they are responsible retailers of alcohol. The amendments to the mandatory licensing conditions will not only tighten the conditions to ensure that alcohol is sold responsibly but clarify them so that retailers can take steps to avoid a breach.

“Now and in the future we must build upon and maintain this momentum and our commitment to reduce the harm caused by alcohol to consumers and their families, to the thousands of victims of alcohol-related crime, to local communities and to the businesses that are vital for our economy.”

The motion to implement measures including provision of free water, adopting age validation measures, tightening measures against irresponsible drinking and offering provisions of small measure alcohol in liceensed premises was agreed.

Related topics: Legislation

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Fundamentals first

Posted by david,

Minimum pricing is but one of numerous ways potentially of controlling excessive alcohol consumption (and its consequences) but hopelessly inadequate in isolation.

I'm yet to be convinced this Government has any intention even of making ANY control or reduction an objective. If Mr Feal-Martinez is right that it's all about revenue to HMG then we are in a hard-cart to Hell.

The cocktail of allowing big business to maximise business profits, a government happy to maximise tax & duty revenues, and petrified of infringing any human rights of Interested Observer's granny to her have her daily Guinness at minimum cost possible, together with nothing more than tokenistic political hand-wringing over the kind of problems John described in his opening post just ensures a spiral of decline into alcohol-fuelled anarchy.

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What is the answer?

Posted by Interested Observer,

Is it (per unit) 40p, 50p, £1,$1.50.....?

Where is the line at which:

a) "Henry and Ladette" are discouraged from pre loading
b) health benefits kick in
c) waverers are encouraged to go to the pub rather than staying at home.
d)the responsible majority who just want to drink at home and not go to pubs don't feel hard done to
e)no EU regulation is breached

I don't think there is an easy answer to that, which is perhaps why no government has even tried to grasp that particular nettle.

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Posted by Keith Williams,

No doubt Lord Kennedy of Southwark will have been 'lobbied' by the supermarkets and has learned the error of his ways

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