New booze rules won't change a thing - we'll drink to that!

17 February 2011


As a wise, wise man once said: To alcohol - the cause of, and solution to all of life's problems! Unfortunately the government didn't hear the bit about how brilliant booze is, and decided to price it out of existence, in a bid to stop supermarkets selling cheap plonk and in turn eroding the moral fibre of society.

Or did they? No, as it happens. They did no such thing.

As was said at the time, the suggested minimum prices per unit of alcohol - 21p per unit of beer and 28p per unit of spirits - were already much lower than most outlets sell it at. Now the Guardian has confirmed the pricing is completely useless.

The newspaper compared the prices of nearly 3,700 booze deals found in the big supermarkets in the lead-up to Christmas. Of them all, only a single deal would have increased in price under the new plan - an £11 one-litre bottle of Grant's whisky would have increased by 42p. Society is saved!

At the time of introducing the bill, the Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the new minimum limits "will stop the worst instances of deep discounting, which result in alcohol being sold both cheaply and harmfully," shortly before announcing limits that may have been of some relevance in the 1980s. Even if the minimum limit was increased to 50p per unit of alcohol, more than 90% of the supermarket's Christmas deals would have been unaffected.


[The Guardian]

TOPICS:   Government   Restaurants


  • hairychad
    the footnote is interesting :) This footnote was appended on 17 February 2011: Asda disputes the claim that it sold a bottle of Grant's whisky for £11 in any of its stores in this period. It says the lowest price for this product in this period was £15.97, and that it has a commitment not to sell alcohol at below the cost of duty plus Vat. The Guardian is checking this claim with Associa, which provided the data.
  • dvdj
    Are you sure? Just a quick calculation from memory but a can of 440ml can of Strongbow is 2.7units i think which would make the minimum price of a can as 56.7p which is more than what some deals were selling them at I'm sure. Maybe I'm wrong, I think 60p a can was the lowest. Still goes to show how stupid it is.
  • Martin is now in place. It will be easier to now increase the minimum unit price of alcohol than it would have been to introduce it at a higher price. We're all still doomed, just not yet.
  • Nick T.
    I can see the ciggie smugglers are going to have to buy bigger vans for when they branch out into booze.
  • oliverreed
    Buy shandy and top up with white spirits/antifreeze all sorted now
  • UK B.
    [...] husks of humanity is a scientific fact! Thanks to the past and current government’s entirely ineffective stance on the pricing of alcohol, we can proudly salute our drinking brilliance, assuming we can stand long enough to do [...]

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