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Minimum pricing plans for alcohol will do nothing to curb binge drinking

The Home Office has announced plans to introduce a minimum price of 45p per alcohol unit and ban supermarkets from “irresponsible” alcohol offers- and recieved criticism as a result.Minimum pricing plans for alcohol will do nothing to curb binge drinkingMiles Beale, the chief executive of the Wines and Spirits Trade Association, said a multi-buy ban “feels like a particular attack on the middle classes”.

“You can’t assume people who are interested in three-for-twos are irresponsible drinkers,” he said. “I’m interested in three- for-twos but it doesn’t mean I’m going to drink the bottles all that night. Actually it completely penalises the normal consumer behaviour of the middle class.

MEP Paul Nuttall also said “Imposing a minimum 45 p per unit will be a blow for the majority of moderate drinkers in this country who just like a quiet drink at home. But it will not tackle the problem it is designed to solve.”

“And I find it bizarre that David Cameron, who generally falls over backwards to do as our masters in Brussels demand, is ploughing on with this scheme despite it being illegal under EU laws,” said Mr Nuttall, UKIP Deputy Leader.

“I am all in favour of ending loss-leader discounting in supermarkets and off licences which has played a significant role in the downfall of our pub industry and it would be nice to think it might mean more people going back to them.”

“But those who just like to have a glass of wine or two with their meal or a couple of cans of lager while putting their feet up this will hit hard. Everyone has to count their pennies these days,” he said.

A ten week public consultation is being launched today over the minimum pricing proposal but we all know that ‘public consultations’ are just politically correct box ticking exercises.

“Yes, we have a binge drinking problem, mainly involving young people, but minimum pricing will not solve it,” said Mr Nuttall.

The Government will consult on a minimum price of 45p per unit despite warnings that the measures could squeeze the weekly supermarket bills of moderate, middle-class drinkers.

The plans would effectively end buy-one-get-one free offers for supermarket drink and substantially raise the price of spirits.

The price of a bottle of gin could rise by a fifth under David Cameron’s scheme, the drinks industry has warned. Whisky may cost 10 per cent more.

The proposed price is higher than the 40p that the Prime Minister publicly backed earlier this year, and led to predictions that any floor price will soon rise again.

Ministers have insisted that setting a minimum unit price will primarily affect strong lagers and ciders and other low-cost, high-alcohol drinks.

But according to the Wines and Spirits Trade Association, a 45p rate would also mean significant increases in more popular products, including bottles of spirits.

The association has calculated that a 45p unit price would mean that 75 per cent of all gin sold in supermarkets and off-licences would become more expensive.

Tesco currently sells 75cl bottles of its Everyday Value gin for £9.85. The industry said that a 45p per unit floor price would increase the price of that bottle to £11.81, a rise of 20 per cent. If the minimum was 50p, as advocated by medical groups, that bottle could cost £13.13.

The association said that a 45p minimum price would increase the cost of 52 per cent of all alcoholic drinks bought in shops. It is also estimated that a bottle of wine now sold at £3.69 could rise to £4.39.

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