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Plans to address cheap alcohol ‘will have little impact’

A Lancashire expert is questioning how much impact plans announced by the Government to prevent alcohol being sold cheaper than ‘cost price’ will have.
Malcolm Ireland, head of Leisure & Licensing at Napthens solicitors is highlighting Home Office guidance on the issue, recently published, which reveals that the Government intends to ban the sale of alcohol for below cost – the level of alcohol duty plus VAT.

For instance, a 440ml can of 4 per cent ABV beer would cost a minimum of 41p; a 750ml bottle of 12.5 per cent wine £2.41 and a 70cl bottle of 37.5 per cent vodka £8.89.

It is proposed that the ban will start on April 6 this year and will be mandatory.

However, Malcolm is questioning what impact the changes will have on the industry – very few pub would sell alcohol for the prices proposed – a pint of 5 per cent beer, for instance, will have a minimum price of 66 pence.

He said: “The industry has very mixed views over these plans – some think the Government hasn’t gone far enough, and are calling for a minimum price per unit.

“Others believe that the plans will interfere with competition, and have unintended consequences that could change the industry for some time to come.

“Many of the problems caused by cheap alcohol are not down to irresponsible retailing, but irresponsible consumption instead.

“I will be watching with interest to see what impact, if any, these plans have.”