U.K. Sets Minimum Price for Alcohol

The British government has set minimum prices for alcohol in an attempt to cut down on binge drinking and alcohol-related health problems, but critics said it will have little impact, The Epoch Times reported Jan. 19.

“We know that pricing controls can help reduce alcohol-related violent crime and this is a crucial step in tackling the availability of cheap alcohol,” said James Brokenshire, the minister for Crime Prevention. He said the new price floor was meant to prevent alcohol being “sold so cheaply that it leads to a greater risk of health harms or drunken violence.”

Critics said the new minimum price was too low, and did not take production and distribution costs into account.

“The government’s decision to set a floor price of only 21 pence a unit is a betrayal of their previous promise to ban the sale of alcohol at below cost and means supermarkets will continue to be able to sell alcohol as a loss leader,” said Mike Benner, who directs the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Professor Ian Gilmore of the Royal College of Physicians, “but I have to say, it’s an extremely small step. It will have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of cheap drinks sold in supermarkets.”

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