The new measure is designed to fight the binge drinking problem in the UK, by preventing retailers from running extreme cut-price promotions. But they stop short of preventing companies from selling drinks for less than the cost of production.
The UK alcohol industry has welcomed the move. WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said: “We have consistently argued for a ban on the sale of alcohol below the level of duty plus VAT on the basis that these are both consumer taxes and therefore the cost should be passed on to the consumer. This is the practical way to implement this policy.
“It is important this policy is applied nationally. We are sure Ministers will want to ensure it is not undermined by separate and different price initiatives by local authorities.”
However, campaigners are not so impressed with the proposals. Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern said: “The price of the vast majority of drinks won't be affected by this and the threshold is not high enough to deter those who use cheap drinks to get drunk.”