British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has rejected proposals to introduce a minimum price system for alcohol in a bid to tackle binge drinking.
Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson’s plan to fix prices would result in the average bottle of wine costing a minimum of £5.05 – a huge increase in the current average price of £4.01.
Brown was quick to react to the suggestion that shops should be required to sell alcohol at no less than 50p per unit, saying that he would protect the interests of the ‘sensible majority of moderate drinkers.’
At a press conference in London this morning the Prime Minister said: ‘We do not want the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers to have to pay more or suffer as a result of the excesses of a small minority.’
The government will respond formally to Sir Liam’s proposals at a later date, but the Prime Minister’s comments are a clear sign that such a system stands no chance of being adopted.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) agree that a minimum pricing system would leave the ordinary consumer at a serious disadvantage.
‘We do not believe that the introduction of retail price maintenance is in the best interests of the consumer and economy,’ the WSTA told decanter.com.
‘It would reduce competition between retailer and between producers and would without doubt lead to consumers getting worse a deal and a poorer range of products. Smaller businesses are likely to be particularly disadvantaged.’
Written by Suzannah Ramsdale