Below-cost ban edges closer for alcohol

29 November, 2010

The government is ready to announce a ban on sales of below-cost alcohol, based on the combined price of VAT and duty, according to reports.

There is mounting speculation that the coalition will unveil the proposals this week.

On Friday, plans to introduce a local minimum pricing system for alcohol in Greater Manchester stalled over concerns the policy would be hard to enforce, and open to legal challenge.

The Scottish Parliament has already voted down similar proposals put forward by the SNP.

The national scheme thought to be favoured by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would mean that spirits could still be sold for as little as £10.50 a litre, and wine as cheaply as £2 a bottle.

Health groups believe pricing plays a key role in curbing problem drinking but trade bodies maintain it penalises the majority of sensible drinkers without making a major impact on alcohol abusers.

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