Health secretary insists minimum unit pricing is not dead

09 May, 2013

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt insists the omission of minimum unit pricing laws from the Queen’s speech does not amount to a final nail in the coffin for the planned legislation.

A cabinet revolt led by home secretary Theresa May appeared to have put an end to David Cameron’s plans.

The legislation now seems doomed as the health lobby expressed upset when Her Majesty did not mention it or any law to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes.

But Hunt said: “Just because something is not in the Queen's speech does not mean the government can't bring it forward as law, but we have not made a decision.”

But trade groups claimed the omission as a victory, with the Scottish Grocers' Federation congratulating the Government on "a very common sense step in dropping potential plans for both the minimum pricing of alcohol and plain packaging for tobacco products” from the speech.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, added that it was good news “for the majority of us who are responsible drinkers”.

He said: “It is now time for the government to focus on proven and effective measures to tackle problem drinking, including locally targeted solutions such as Community Alcohol Partnerships, more and better education and tougher enforcement of existing legislation.

“The drinks trade remains committed to working in partnership with government to tackle alcohol misuse including through our work on the Responsibility Deal.”




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