Cheap alcohol banned before World CupBy Melita Kiely
The Home Office has announced plans to ban the sale of alcohol at below cost prices in England and Wales before the start of the World Cup.
The new licensing restrictions will come into effect from 6 April, meaning a 750ml bottle of vodka cannot be sold for less than £10.16, with the exemption of duty-free sales on ships, aircraft and in airports.
Ministers hope the move will reduce the number of young people “pre-loading” on cheap alcohol consequently reducing the chances of violence and injury.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), said that the industry body “welcomed” the ban on “deeply discounted alcohol”.
“We will continue to work with the Home Office to ensure that the guidance is widely understood and that retailers have sufficient time to comply fully with the changes,” he said.
“Our retail members are committed to the responsible retailing of alcohol and were instrumental in the development of Challenge 25 and Community Alcohol Partnerships.”
The Home Office’s impact assessment published on Tuesday highlighted the policy is only likely to hit 1.3% of all alcohol sales, mainly in supermarkets, but says that this amounts to sales of 220m litres a year.
“The coalition Government is determined to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime, which costs England and Wales around £11 billion a year,” said Norman Baker, crime prevention minister.
“Banning the sale of alcohol below duty plus VAT will stop the worst examples of very cheap and harmful drink. It is part of a wide range of action we are taking including challenging the drinks industry to play a greater role in tackling alcohol abuse.”