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East Anglia: Greene King chief welcomes consultation on minimum pricing for alcohol

16:13 28 November 2012

Rooney Anand, chief executive at Greene King

Rooney Anand, chief executive at Greene King

Archant

THE boss of Suffolk-based pubs and brewing group Greene King today welcomed the Government’s launch of proposals for a minimum price for alcohol.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, a long-standing supporter of minimum pricing, said the move was ““an important step in helping to address the UK’s long- term problems associated with binge drinking and alcohol-related social disorder”.

He added: “Alcohol abuse and misuse, fuelled by the easy availability of cheap alcohol in supermarkets and convenience stores, can lead to antisocial behaviour and is at the root of many health problems.

“We believe it is essential to combine a minimum price per unit of alcohol with a robust strategy to protect and educate the public.”

However, Mr Anand said he favoured a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol, as planned by the Scottish government, rather than the 45p proposed by the Government in Westminster for England.

The higher price “could significantly increase the number of lives saved per year and avoid any issues associated with cross-border shopping between England and Scotland,” he added.

Emma Hibbert, head of corporate affairs at Southwold brewer Adnams, said: “All Adnams products are sold well above the the proposed 45p per unit.

“We firmly believe in the responsible promotion of alcohol and have worked hard over the years, through our own campaigns and those organised by the drinks industry to encourage people to enjoy alcohol in moderation.”

The Government believes a 45p minimum unit price will cut total alcohol consumption by 3.3%, the number of crimes by 5,000 per year and hospital admissions by 24,000, with 700 fewer alcohol-linked deaths annually, according to predictions.

Announcing a consultation on minimum pricing and other measures, including an end to multi-buy offers at supermarkets and off-licences, Home Office minister Damian Green said: “The evidence is clear – the availability of cheap alcohol contributes to harmful levels of drinking.”

He added: “It is just a fact of economics and indeed of life that if you put the price of a particular product up, demand for it goes down.”

However, some organisations within the drinks industry said responsible consumers would suffer from minimum pricing, and suggested the move could break EU law by hitting the price of imports.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “Minimum unit pricing and the proposed restrictions to promotions are wholly untargeted and will unfairly punish millions of consumers and businesses in the UK, while doing nothing to tackle the root causes of alcohol misuse.”

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: ”We strongly believe that alcohol should be priced in a way that is socially responsible, but there are concerns that minimum pricing would penalise a sensible majority of people who drink in moderation.”

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2 comments

  • It's not rare for me to disagree with evrything that Greene King has to say on this issue. If the government can get the current proposals implemented, then it will be just be the start of attempts to increase the minimum price on a regular basis as the current proposals are seen to be a failure. It is my experience that the multi buy options currently offered by supermarkets for high quality products have made some premium beers affordable to more people than would otherwise be the case. There are also more and more people on the minumum wage and on part-time working during this difficult economic period that would suffer if such a prohibitionist measure was implemented - I hope that the EU regulations preclude such a measure from the outset.

    Report this comment

    John Shirley

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • It's a rare occasion I agree with anything Greene King have to say, but on this I agree completely. The argument that this will "penalise sensible drinkers" is rubbish - the only booze sold at prices below this anyway isn't the sort of stuff you drink to enjoy the flavour, it's cheaply-made muck designed to get you as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. I once made the mistake of trying a can of "The Tramp's Friend", Carlsberg Special, and I can tell you, you would NEVER drink it for its flavour. And don't make the mistake of thinking this means more profit for the supermarkets - the only reason they sell cheap booze is to get people into their shops so they'll buy stuff with a big mark-up on it while they're there. So if anything it's going to HIT their profits.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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