Home Secretary to announce minimum alcohol price plan

Cheap alcohol on sale in the North-East

Cheap alcohol on sale in the North-East

First published in News

THE coalition will today unveil controversial plans to tackle drunken mayhem on Britain's streets by introducing a higher-than-expected minimum alcohol price of 45p per unit.

Multi-buy deals in supermarkets and off-licences could also be banned, under proposals being put out for consultation.

Home Secretary Theresa May is outlining the package in an effort to turn the tide on a culture of irresponsible drinking estimated to cost the taxpayer £21bn annually.

Officials said it was currently possible to buy a can of lager for as little as 20p, and a two litre bottle of cider for 1.69.

Last month a survey by The Northern Echo found alcohol on sale in the region for as little as 15p a litre.

Nationally, more than a million crimes and 1.2 million hospital admissions were linked to alcohol last year.

The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), made up of 32 medical and counselling organisations, welcomed the step.

But chairman Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said the minimum unit price should be 50p rather than 45p.

"The evidence shows us that heavy drinkers and young drinkers are more affected by higher alcohol prices than moderate drinkers," he said.

According to the University of Sheffield, a minimum unit price of 50p would reduce total alcohol consumption by 6.7 per cent, saving around 20,000 hospital admissions in the first year.

Balance, the North-East alcohol office set up to persuade the region to drink more responsibly, has been campaigning for the introduction of minimum pricing.

Last week its director, Colin Shevills, writing for The Northern Echo, said: "We can't continue with a situation where alcohol is available for pocket money prices, where two litres of strong cider containing a woman's recommended weekly intake is on sale for less that 2 and a can of lager is cheaper than bottled water."

However, the drinks industry has warned that the 45p threshold would hit modest consumers hard, without addressing the underlying problems.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive, said: "While the Government may be consulting on 45p consumers should be aware that the final minimum unit price could be much higher than that.

"In the Spring we were told it would be 40p, its already 45p, we know that health groups are calling for a price of at least 50p and the Scottish Government has already proposed a 50p minimum unit price.

"The impact at 50p would see 65 per cent of prices in supermarkets and off-licences rise with a bottle of vodka increasing in price from £9 to £13.13."

Home Office officials insisted the consultation was targeted at harmful drinkers, problems pubs and irresponsible shops.

"Those who enjoy a quiet drink or two have nothing to fear from our proposals."

Comments (16)

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7:43am Wed 28 Nov 12

Hunty1 says...

Why don't the government raise the minimum age? It works in America... Just saying!
Why don't the government raise the minimum age? It works in America... Just saying! Hunty1
  • Score: 0

8:40am Wed 28 Nov 12

Idontknowaboutyoubut says...

Hunty1.the statutory age is 18years.Kids of 12/13&14 years are already habitual drinkers,and are often dealt with by police and Health Services.I am afraid that people have scant respect for the law these days.Raising the age limit would simply create yet another problem.
Hunty1.the statutory age is 18years.Kids of 12/13&14 years are already habitual drinkers,and are often dealt with by police and Health Services.I am afraid that people have scant respect for the law these days.Raising the age limit would simply create yet another problem. Idontknowaboutyoubut
  • Score: 0

9:13am Wed 28 Nov 12

sefa says...

It's alcohol advertising that needs dealing with. Tobacco advertising has been banned but alcohol has been untouched.

Why?

If you take a step back and look you realise it's everywhere. Football shirts, shop windows, billboards, sport sponsorship (like the World Cup for example), TV adverts (and lots of them)!

I mean, for Christ's sake they even have a lunchtime TV show with a feature on the best cocktails!

Talk about double standards when compared to tobacco!! Yet tobacco doesn't affect the same level of people that alcohol abuse does. It doesn't cost the taxpayer even half as much - not even close! So again, why has it remained relatively untouched until now?

Having a minimum price can't hurt but we need to stop the promotion of alcohol to the shameful degree that it is now.
It's alcohol advertising that needs dealing with. Tobacco advertising has been banned but alcohol has been untouched. Why? If you take a step back and look you realise it's everywhere. Football shirts, shop windows, billboards, sport sponsorship (like the World Cup for example), TV adverts (and lots of them)! I mean, for Christ's sake they even have a lunchtime TV show with a feature on the best cocktails! Talk about double standards when compared to tobacco!! Yet tobacco doesn't affect the same level of people that alcohol abuse does. It doesn't cost the taxpayer even half as much - not even close! So again, why has it remained relatively untouched until now? Having a minimum price can't hurt but we need to stop the promotion of alcohol to the shameful degree that it is now. sefa
  • Score: 0

10:09am Wed 28 Nov 12

widdle says...

I agree that its ridiculous that you have always been able to buy alcohol cheaper than soft drinks in most public houses and that promotions offering a treble spirit for £1 are absurd, I don't think this is the best option to deter people from drinking so much.
Why not increase the penalty for people that sell alcohol to minors or buy it from them? Possibly make it illegal to drink alcohol everywhere in public rather than just on selected high streets.

I don't have a magic answer for this but think we're all guilty of having double standards. We complain when the government want to increase alcohol by a couple of pence in the budget, but then we're going to let them increase alcohol to a minimum of 45p per unit. How much of this will be going to the chancellor, because if the manufacturers thought that tet could get 45p per unit they would have been charging us that from the onset. Call me cynical but is the governments aim really to deter provlem drinkers or is it because it see's the innocent person that enjoys a glass of wine or a pint every now and then as a cash cow?
I agree that its ridiculous that you have always been able to buy alcohol cheaper than soft drinks in most public houses and that promotions offering a treble spirit for £1 are absurd, I don't think this is the best option to deter people from drinking so much. Why not increase the penalty for people that sell alcohol to minors or buy it from them? Possibly make it illegal to drink alcohol everywhere in public rather than just on selected high streets. I don't have a magic answer for this but think we're all guilty of having double standards. We complain when the government want to increase alcohol by a couple of pence in the budget, but then we're going to let them increase alcohol to a minimum of 45p per unit. How much of this will be going to the chancellor, because if the manufacturers thought that tet could get 45p per unit they would have been charging us that from the onset. Call me cynical but is the governments aim really to deter provlem drinkers or is it because it see's the innocent person that enjoys a glass of wine or a pint every now and then as a cash cow? widdle
  • Score: 1

10:59am Wed 28 Nov 12

loonyleft says...

at last some sensible people talking about the problem.
at last some sensible people talking about the problem. loonyleft
  • Score: 0

11:04am Wed 28 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

You're right widdle, this is just a revenue-raising measure to bring cash into government coffers.

I can't take Colin Shevills from Balance seriously at all. He only ever drones on about 'pocket money prices' and 'lager is cheaper than bottled water'. Same old stuck record.

'chairman Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said the minimum unit price should be 50p rather than 45p.' BBC Breakfast had Gilmore on this morning and he was destroyed by the opponent of minimum pricing on the programme. Gilmore (and others like 'Balance') have never mentioned that UK alcohol consumption has reduced over several years, particularly amongst the young (funny old thing!) but he begrudgingly had to admit it this morning. Also, the proportion of income spent on alcohol in recent years has halved; again Gilmore and his cronies have never mentioned this.

It was pointed out that the medical profession should not be dictating market prices of goods and services in the UK - quite rightly.

Of course, the TV pictures were yet again of a PC wrestling a drunk; as if this justifies imposing this tax on the whole UK adult population! Even the government now talk about 'health' problems more than 'teenage binge drinkers' because they know they can't fool people all of the time.

The article above mentions possibly 20,000 hospital admissions would be saved from an (extortionate) minimum price of 50p per unit. The article also claims there were 1,200,000 alcohol-related admissions last year. So, even if true (which I doubt) this is a reduction of just over 1.5%.

So the whole adult population of 49 million people will face this minimum price tax, for a reduction of 1.5%?

Finally, I'm not a cider drinker, but if you are, then watch out! The two 3-litre bottles of cider from Iceland that the Echo reported on a few weeks back, will increase in price from £7 to £20.25 at a price of 45p per unit.

I think the only hope we have of stopping this Tory tax intervention is for the EU to declare it illegal. Here's hoping!
You're right widdle, this is just a revenue-raising measure to bring cash into government coffers. I can't take Colin Shevills from Balance seriously at all. He only ever drones on about 'pocket money prices' and 'lager is cheaper than bottled water'. Same old stuck record. 'chairman Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said the minimum unit price should be 50p rather than 45p.' BBC Breakfast had Gilmore on this morning and he was destroyed by the opponent of minimum pricing on the programme. Gilmore (and others like 'Balance') have never mentioned that UK alcohol consumption has reduced over several years, particularly amongst the young (funny old thing!) but he begrudgingly had to admit it this morning. Also, the proportion of income spent on alcohol in recent years has halved; again Gilmore and his cronies have never mentioned this. It was pointed out that the medical profession should not be dictating market prices of goods and services in the UK - quite rightly. Of course, the TV pictures were yet again of a PC wrestling a drunk; as if this justifies imposing this tax on the whole UK adult population! Even the government now talk about 'health' problems more than 'teenage binge drinkers' because they know they can't fool people all of the time. The article above mentions possibly 20,000 hospital admissions would be saved from an (extortionate) minimum price of 50p per unit. The article also claims there were 1,200,000 alcohol-related admissions last year. So, even if true (which I doubt) this is a reduction of just over 1.5%. So the whole adult population of 49 million people will face this minimum price tax, for a reduction of 1.5%? Finally, I'm not a cider drinker, but if you are, then watch out! The two 3-litre bottles of cider from Iceland that the Echo reported on a few weeks back, will increase in price from £7 to £20.25 at a price of 45p per unit. I think the only hope we have of stopping this Tory tax intervention is for the EU to declare it illegal. Here's hoping! frankyboy
  • Score: 0

11:11am Wed 28 Nov 12

David Lacey says...

The Government's plans are NOT based upon raising the tax on alcohol, so the extra money will end up in the pockets of the retailers and/or manufacturers. I think the above letters are very helpful in understanding the problem, but they fail to mention the soft underbelly of this trade - bootlegging and other illicit trade. This will get much worse.
.
I don't think the plan is fair on responsible people but that is typical of an out of touch Government hell bent on losing the next election.
The Government's plans are NOT based upon raising the tax on alcohol, so the extra money will end up in the pockets of the retailers and/or manufacturers. I think the above letters are very helpful in understanding the problem, but they fail to mention the soft underbelly of this trade - bootlegging and other illicit trade. This will get much worse. . I don't think the plan is fair on responsible people but that is typical of an out of touch Government hell bent on losing the next election. David Lacey
  • Score: 0

11:44am Wed 28 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

"Government's plans are NOT based upon raising the tax on alcohol"

Depends on perspective. From the view of the UK population I'd suggest that any government intervention in the market that sets the prices we have to pay, is in effect a tax on all of us. I accept they don't call it a tax, but they wouldn't, would they?

The exchequer may not receive all of the proceeds, estimated at approx £2bn extra profit, but at an average corporation tax rate of 25% over the last 2 years this is still half a billion pounds in easy tax revenue for the government.

I actually hope bootlegging and the illicit trade does get worse. Both the Tories and the Lib Dems were opposed to this at the last election, and in the Coalition agreement, yet now - another mid-term u-turn - they are going to impose it on everyone in the country. A country that's supposed to be a democracy!
"Government's plans are NOT based upon raising the tax on alcohol" Depends on perspective. From the view of the UK population I'd suggest that any government intervention in the market that sets the prices we have to pay, is in effect a tax on all of us. I accept they don't call it a tax, but they wouldn't, would they? The exchequer may not receive all of the proceeds, estimated at approx £2bn extra profit, but at an average corporation tax rate of 25% over the last 2 years this is still half a billion pounds in easy tax revenue for the government. I actually hope bootlegging and the illicit trade does get worse. Both the Tories and the Lib Dems were opposed to this at the last election, and in the Coalition agreement, yet now - another mid-term u-turn - they are going to impose it on everyone in the country. A country that's supposed to be a democracy! frankyboy
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Wed 28 Nov 12

loonyleft says...

frankboy you really are in denial,whats wrong in bringing a bit of fairness into the drinks market,the supermarkets have an unfair advantage which needs curtalling.
frankboy you really are in denial,whats wrong in bringing a bit of fairness into the drinks market,the supermarkets have an unfair advantage which needs curtalling. loonyleft
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Wed 28 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

Why not bring fairness into the meat market? Clothes market? Electronics market? Surely supermarket prices for all these things should be increased to give smaller stores more profit? I don't think so. So why alcohol?

The answer is simple. The government has lost a lot of tax revenue by driving people away from pubs in recent years (because of their own punitive tax policy!) but they realise they can recoup a substantial amount of tax by imposing this huge price increase on the whole country.

They have to hide behind terms such as 'health concerns' and the much-abused 'teenage binge drinkers' to try and fool the public, but I believe the majority of us can see this for what it is - a revenue-raising con.
Why not bring fairness into the meat market? Clothes market? Electronics market? Surely supermarket prices for all these things should be increased to give smaller stores more profit? I don't think so. So why alcohol? The answer is simple. The government has lost a lot of tax revenue by driving people away from pubs in recent years (because of their own punitive tax policy!) but they realise they can recoup a substantial amount of tax by imposing this huge price increase on the whole country. They have to hide behind terms such as 'health concerns' and the much-abused 'teenage binge drinkers' to try and fool the public, but I believe the majority of us can see this for what it is - a revenue-raising con. frankyboy
  • Score: 0

2:05pm Wed 28 Nov 12

loonyleft says...

Frankboy,you're changing the subject, it's not a huge increase,unless you drink a lot, maybe thats your problem,every time mentions measures to do with smoking or drinking people say it's a trick to get more tax money can't you see when somebody is trying to help.You wo.uld really like living in Australia,fags are twenty pounds a packet,and a whole generation is growing up without smoking
Frankboy,you're changing the subject, it's not a huge increase,unless you drink a lot, maybe thats your problem,every time mentions measures to do with smoking or drinking people say it's a trick to get more tax money can't you see when somebody is trying to help.You wo.uld really like living in Australia,fags are twenty pounds a packet,and a whole generation is growing up without smoking loonyleft
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Wed 28 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

I have not changed the subject at all. I'm questioning why pubs should be helped at the expense of supermarkets when other businesses are not. My comment is all about alcohol and this tax con.

Why are you changing the subject and talking about the price of cigarettes in Australia? And you overstate the price by approx 100%!

Is this why other posters criticise you? Please make a comment on the issue rather than just opposing people for the sake of opposing them.
I have not changed the subject at all. I'm questioning why pubs should be helped at the expense of supermarkets when other businesses are not. My comment is all about alcohol and this tax con. Why are you changing the subject and talking about the price of cigarettes in Australia? And you overstate the price by approx 100%! Is this why other posters criticise you? Please make a comment on the issue rather than just opposing people for the sake of opposing them. frankyboy
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Citizen of the World says...

Excuse me for stating the obvious, but, why is everyone of a legal drinking age not issued with an alcohol card? Every time they buy alcohol it gets swiped, when they reach their limit for that day or week, they don;t get served anymore. End of problem. Simples.
Excuse me for stating the obvious, but, why is everyone of a legal drinking age not issued with an alcohol card? Every time they buy alcohol it gets swiped, when they reach their limit for that day or week, they don;t get served anymore. End of problem. Simples. Citizen of the World
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Tue 4 Dec 12

loonyleft says...

Frankboy,people critisise me because they don't keep up with the news as much as me ,it's just sometimes i neglect to take note of where i get my info from,which i will have to correct.According to you cigarettes are free in Australia,i think your maths are as bad as my typing,which could explain why you are getting the wrong idea about how exspensive drink will be.
Frankboy,people critisise me because they don't keep up with the news as much as me ,it's just sometimes i neglect to take note of where i get my info from,which i will have to correct.According to you cigarettes are free in Australia,i think your maths are as bad as my typing,which could explain why you are getting the wrong idea about how exspensive drink will be. loonyleft
  • Score: 0

4:19pm Tue 4 Dec 12

frankyboy says...

'According to you cigarettes are free in Australia'. What on earth are you on about?

I'm not yet sure whether you are deliberately being obnoxious/acting stupid, just to try and irritate people, or whether you really just can't get it.

If I say that an item costs £20 when it actually only costs £10 then I am overstating it's price by 100%.

Do you understand? I've also tried to explain the £40 for 4 bottles as best I can for you on the 'Drinking' article but if you can't understand that either then I'll have to give up. Maths, at any level, is clearly not your thing. Fair enough.

If you have understood, but are just opposing for the sake of it, then please let me know. Otherwise it's pointless responding to any more of your comments on this subject.
'According to you cigarettes are free in Australia'. What on earth are you on about? I'm not yet sure whether you are deliberately being obnoxious/acting stupid, just to try and irritate people, or whether you really just can't get it. If I say that an item costs £20 when it actually only costs £10 then I am overstating it's price by 100%. Do you understand? I've also tried to explain the £40 for 4 bottles as best I can for you on the 'Drinking' article but if you can't understand that either then I'll have to give up. Maths, at any level, is clearly not your thing. Fair enough. If you have understood, but are just opposing for the sake of it, then please let me know. Otherwise it's pointless responding to any more of your comments on this subject. frankyboy
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Tue 4 Dec 12

loonyleft says...

frankboy,It was announced on tv the other day ciggarettes were being priced at £20 to deter people taking up smoking,you said i was 100% wrong,so that must mean they are free,It's you that does'nt under stand,i didn't overstate the price why should i ,it's not my problem you missed it being mentioned on the Matthew Wright show.You don't need booze to live,i spend my money on worthwile things like food and heating,a much better use for your money.
frankboy,It was announced on tv the other day ciggarettes were being priced at £20 to deter people taking up smoking,you said i was 100% wrong,so that must mean they are free,It's you that does'nt under stand,i didn't overstate the price why should i ,it's not my problem you missed it being mentioned on the Matthew Wright show.You don't need booze to live,i spend my money on worthwile things like food and heating,a much better use for your money. loonyleft
  • Score: 0

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