Coalition agrees on drinks pricing

20 May, 2010

The coalition government has vowed to ban the sale of alcohol below cost price to cut binge-drinking in England and Wales.

The coalition government has vowed to ban the sale of alcohol below cost price to cut binge drinking in England and Wales.

Alcohol taxation and pricing will also be reviewed, according to the policy document revealed today.

It said: “We will overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems.

“We will allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children. We will double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000. We will permit local councils to charge more for late-night licences to pay for additional policing.”

The WSTA said it welcomed the plans.

Chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: “The WSTA supports a ban on selling alcohol below the level of duty plus VAT on the basis that these are both consumer taxes and therefore the cost should be passed on to the consumer.

“While the WSTA remains opposed to minimum pricing we are keen to work with government on the issue of below cost selling to ensure any future legislation does not discriminate against any particular section of the drinks industry.

“However, we do not believe that alcohol pricing and taxation provide the solution to alcohol misuse. What's needed is education and rigorous enforcement of laws to address misuse and related anti-social behaviour.

“We will continue to work with government to communicate the sensible drinking message, not least through the Campaign for Smarter Drinking.”

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