GOVERNMENT will today announce the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol as part of measures that aim to reduce the social impact of excessive drinking.
New legislation will force retailers to charge a minimum of 40p per unit of alcohol. Prime Minister David Cameron has also promised to ban bulk-buy discount deals in supermarkets. Crates of beer will be particularly badly hit, with 20 medium-sized cans of Kronenberg lager set to cost a minimum of £17.60, ten per cent more than Tesco’s current deal.
Meanwhile a bottle of wine will have a minimum legal price of £3.60, hitting multi-buy deals.
The Prime Minister knows that the strategy “won’t be universally popular”, especially amongst responsible drinkers who will find the price of their favourite tipple substantially increased.
But he is promising an all-out attack on what he terms “Booze Britain”.
“Binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities,” the Prime Minister explained.
“My message is simple. We can’t go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now.”
Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium criticised the decision: “David Cameron is seriously misguided. It’s simplistic to imagine a minimum price is some sort of silver bullet solution to irresponsible drinking. Effectively, a minimum price is a tax on responsible drinkers.”