Shadow secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley said the “misunderstood units” system would be replaced by new labels detailing the amount of pure alcohol in centilitres on drink cans and bottles.
The new labels would also show the amount of calories in alcoholic beverages, as part of Tory plans to tackle growing obesity in Britain.
“What we should put on the glass or bottle of wine is the amount of alcohol in it. Let’s talk about it in terms of centilitres of alcohol. At the moment, people think about how many drinks they have had, not how many units,” Lansley said.
But there was some good news for the pub and brewing industries, after Lansley signalled that the Tories would stop short of bringing in minimum pricing controls. Instead they would increase duty on alcopops, high-strength lagers and ciders.
Under the plans, supermarkets would be stopped from selling alcohol as a loss-leader to get shoppers through their doors in a policy that follows similar moves by Spain, France, Belgium and Portugal.