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alcohol health alliance uk

Banning the sale of alcohol below the rate of duty and VAT

Posted 18/01/11

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Today’s Government announcement on the price of alcohol is a missed opportunity. It will do nothing to prevent alcohol being sold at pocket money prices and little or nothing to reduce alcohol-related health harm or impact on crime and disorder.

“Under the new rules, supermarkets will still be able to sell a can of lager for as little as 38p and a litre of vodka for £10.71, prices which will not reduce drinking levels amongst harmful and younger drinkers. In fact, very few products will be affected by today’s announcement. Research carried out this morning shows that the cheapest litre bottle of own brand supermarket vodka at one of the big four supermarkets is currently on sale for £12.97, already more than the floor set by duty plus VAT.

“This measure will equally do nothing to close the price gap that exists between super cheap supermarket alcohol and the price of a pint in the pub. Treasured community pubs across the North East will continue to struggle and close as the Government continues to fail to address this discrepancy. Research shows that more than half of the region’s pubs experienced a decline in business last year, while seven in ten publicans would welcome legislation to prevent supermarkets from selling alcohol at pocket money prices.

"Our region has the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the UK, while 46% of all violent crime is alcohol-related. Drinking too much is draining our economy of £1.3 billion a year in costs to the NHS, alcohol-related crime and disorder and impact on the workplace. The Government needs to look at a package of measures – including a realistic minimum price per unit of alcohol - if it is serious about tackling the problems that alcohol is causing in the North East.”