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proposal for minimum alcohol prices

20 January 2011

The Government has revealed plans to set minimum alcohol price levels in England and Wales. The ban, on the sale of alcohol below the rate of duty plus VAT, will see a minimum price of 38p for a can of lager and £10.71 for a litre of vodka.

This move is almost certainly not going to affect smaller retailers, the vast majority of whom are not able to sell at such low prices. The move is aimed at supermarkets which have been using alcohol as a ‘loss leader’. However all retailers should keep an eye out for any further increases as this move has been referred to as ‘an important first step’.

This is a weak move by the Government and is unlikely to significantly reduce crime and alcohol related health issues. The question remains as to how high the price floor must be in order to be effective.

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