No decision yet on minimum unit pricing for alcohol - minister

Mark Anderson, managing director of Maxim Brewery, pulls a pint for Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis

Mark Anderson, managing director of Maxim Brewery, pulls a pint for Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

THE Government has not ruled out imposing a minimum unit price on alcohol, the Community Pubs Minister insisted during a visit to the North-East today (Thursday, March 14).

Conservative MP Brandon Lewis said the Government was taking its time to look at all the facts closely and would come to a considered conclusion.

He dismissed reports proposals to introduce a base price of 45p per unit, to tackle binge drinking had been shelved as ‘speculation’.

Speaking during a visit to Maxim Brewery, near Houghton-le-Spring, Wearside, Mr Lewis said: “The brewers I’ve spoken to are unanimously supportive of minimum unit pricing.

“Anything that promotes being in a pub drinking rather than pre-loading is a good thing. Even if people drink sensibly at home, I’d rather have them in a pub, supporting jobs and the economy.

“A minimum price would probably help pubs. I can see why the industry is keen on it.”

But he added: “I’m not a fan of the ‘stick’.

“Education and the ‘carrot’ is the best way to do it. I think it’s a good thing that the Government is taking its time to look at all the facts carefully.”

Balance, the North-East Alcohol Office, wants a minimum price of 50p per unit.

Its director, Colin Shevills, said: “Mr Lewis shouldn’t be sitting on the fence but supporting publicans in the North-East. Seven out of ten support minimum unit pricing.

“They’re suffering at the hands of cheap supermarket alcohol.”

Meanwhile, Labour accused Home Secretary Theresa May of hiding from her responsibilities, as ministers refused to confirm whether the plans had been scrapped.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said both Mrs May’s reputation and Prime Minister David Cameron’s authority were in tatters amid reports of Cabinet in-fighting over the policy.

Mrs May is alleged to have led opposition to the policy, which comes under her department, and “overruled” the Prime Minister, Ms Cooper said.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne was forced to attend the Commons to respond to an urgent question.

He said a decision would be announced once careful evaluation of the consultation was completed.

Comments (5)

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3:23pm Thu 14 Mar 13

frankyboy says...

"Even if people drink sensibly at home, I’d rather have them in a pub, supporting jobs and the economy."

Oh would you now, Mr Tory MP? Why can't you just leave people alone to make their own decision as to where they choose to enjoy a drink?

And the main reason most people are drinking more at home rather than in the pub is because pubs have become too expensive. Which is due, amongst other things, to ever increasing beer taxes imposed by politicians!

Why should supermarkets be penalised just because pubs are unable to offer lower prices? Of course the pub trade is in favour of minimum pricing - vested interests!!

Why don't we have a minimum price on sweets, bread and milk, to stop supermarkets undercutting corner shops?

Colin Shevills, said: “Mr Lewis shouldn’t be sitting on the fence but supporting publicans". This is another ridiculous statement from 'Balance'. Mr Lewis should be doing no such thing; he should be doing what is right for the British people. Not targeting pensioners, the low-paid, the poorest in our society, with even higher alcohol prices, just to indulge the vested interests of the pub, or any other, industry.
"Even if people drink sensibly at home, I’d rather have them in a pub, supporting jobs and the economy." Oh would you now, Mr Tory MP? Why can't you just leave people alone to make their own decision as to where they choose to enjoy a drink? And the main reason most people are drinking more at home rather than in the pub is because pubs have become too expensive. Which is due, amongst other things, to ever increasing beer taxes imposed by politicians! Why should supermarkets be penalised just because pubs are unable to offer lower prices? Of course the pub trade is in favour of minimum pricing - vested interests!! Why don't we have a minimum price on sweets, bread and milk, to stop supermarkets undercutting corner shops? Colin Shevills, said: “Mr Lewis shouldn’t be sitting on the fence but supporting publicans". This is another ridiculous statement from 'Balance'. Mr Lewis should be doing no such thing; he should be doing what is right for the British people. Not targeting pensioners, the low-paid, the poorest in our society, with even higher alcohol prices, just to indulge the vested interests of the pub, or any other, industry. frankyboy
  • Score: 1

3:36pm Thu 14 Mar 13

behonest says...

If the Tories u-turn on their u-turn, will they look their most ridiculous yet?
If the Tories u-turn on their u-turn, will they look their most ridiculous yet? behonest
  • Score: 0

8:38pm Thu 14 Mar 13

argo2013 says...

Frank, Calm down,sit down and have another can.
Frank, Calm down,sit down and have another can. argo2013
  • Score: -1

11:10pm Thu 14 Mar 13

spragger says...

Thank goodness for that, it would have hit the poorest the hardest.
- The people who like a pint whilst watching MOTD, etc

Clearly if they have a problem with a few people hit the perpetrators hard, not the innocent
Thank goodness for that, it would have hit the poorest the hardest. - The people who like a pint whilst watching MOTD, etc Clearly if they have a problem with a few people hit the perpetrators hard, not the innocent spragger
  • Score: 2

11:06am Fri 15 Mar 13

argo2013 says...

still believing the false figures.
still believing the false figures. argo2013
  • Score: -1

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