Minister confirms minimum price U-turn

17 July, 2013

Home Office minister Jeremy Browne has confirmed the government has formally abandoned plans to pursue minimum pricing on alcohol, but that the policy “remains under consideration” for the future.

The government will revert to a previous preference to control drinks pricing through a ban on below cost sales by next spring.

Browne claimed this would “stop the worst excesses of deep discounting” and would mean a can of standard lager could not legally be sold below 40p.

Plans to outlaw multibuy promotions have almost been scrapped. Browne said there was ”a lack of evidence it could have a significant impact on excessive consumption”.

He called for more efforts by the drinks industry to tackle harmful consumption including reducing the availability of high strength products.

Shadow Home Office minister Diana Johnson said: “We’ve taken two-and-a-half years to return to where we started. 

“The government may pretend this is not a U-turn but the evidence is overwhelming.”

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