Friday, 18 January 2013

Minimum Alcohol Pricing

IBC are about to respond to a consultation on government alcohol policy.

There are 5 key areas that are set out and whilst 4 seem pretty straightforward and was welcomed by councillors at the last committee meeting, the idea of a minimum alcohol price is one that has the jury out for me personally.

A sub committee is meeting next week, of which I am one, to go over all the areas with a fine toothed comb but I would really like your opinion on what you think the government should do about pricing.

So let me outline the proposals (and they are just proposals!).

Introduction of minimum price - around .45p per unit as this has been justified in an impact assessment.
The Off trade would be most affected by this minimum price
Based on evidence, there would be a reduction in 'harmful' use of alcohol
Ban on multi buy for the off licensed trade (on-trade was dealt with in 2010) which would be on on promotions that allow people to buy multiple products for cheaper than if they had purchased each one as a single item
Promotions for half price single items will not be banned (this is probably because people will not be so likely to buy, for example, several cans or bottles of wine, in single promotions whereas multi buy would result in more cans/bottles being bought and consumed).

The reason I am on the fence is because I believe that many responsible drinkers who can afford only cheap alcohol just once or twice a week, will be penalised. However all parties seem to want this and there is the upside of reducing alcohol intake as a real benefit - if it works. I always prefer to not have a nanny state when it comes to policy but this is a serious issue and this measure will be one of many to combat misuse.

Of course like anything it will be reviewed - so what do you think?

Is 45p too high, too low?
What other factors should be considered when setting a minimum price?
What groups of people do you think will be affected by this?

Of course we are liaising with all the relevant associations who have to deal with the effects of alcohol misuse but I really would like to hear your opinions.

Over to you... You could comment below or email me on

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