WSTA raps minimum price calls

16 March, 2009

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has criticised calls for a 50p-per-unit minimum price on alcohol in England and Wales.

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson is expected to announce the proposal today, according to media reports.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles responded: "It is worrying that in the midst of a recession when sales and consumption of alcohol are falling that the government should be talking about raising prices for all consumers at a time when many are already struggling to make ends meet.

"Sales of wine priced under £4 fell by 11% last year, indicating many on lower budgets are simply being priced out of the wine category, and now the chief medical officer wants to raise the minimum price of a bottle of wine to £5. We need to tackle the minority that misuse alcohol rather than making the majority pay more for the simple pleasure of a bottle of wine.Ē

The Daily Mail reported today that the government would not back the proposals. It quoted cabinet minister James Purnell, who said the government would not "punish the responsible majority".

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