Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Minimum pricing canned

Realistically, minimum alcohol pricing was never going to be introduced. There was a major potential conflict with competition law, the effects were uncertain and it would not look good in a recession to be raising the price of a staple purchase of working-class households. Nevertheless, it's good to have a clear confirmation from the government that they have no plans to bring it in at present.

It's interesting how the more extreme ideas of the anti-drink lobby, such as this, a 21 minimum age for off-sales and separate tills for alcohol, are being knocked off one by one. However, it would not pay to be too complacent, as they could all too easily be revived if the climate of public opinion changed, as we have seen in the case of anti-smoking measures. And the slow but steady attack on drinkers through ratcheting up duty rates is likely to continue unabated.

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