Suffolk: Brewing giant Greene King accuses Government of ducking “difficult decisions” after minimum alcohol price about-turn

In the wake of the decision Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, a long-term backer of the prop

In the wake of the decision Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, a long-term backer of the proposals, penned his name to a nine-strong list of brewing companies left frustrated by the ruling. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk brewing giant has accused the Government of ducking the “difficult decisions” after it performed a U-turn on introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Minister Jeremy Browne confirmed in the House of Commons on Wednesday that plans for a 45p price per unit of alcohol in England and Wales, which were floated in a consultation last year and appeared to receive the support of Prime Minister David Cameron, had been shelved.

In the wake of the decision Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, a long-term backer of the proposals, penned his name to a nine-strong list of brewing companies left frustrated by the ruling.

The joint statement said: “While we welcome the Government’s acknowledgement that price is an important factor, without a meaningful minimum unit price of 50p, it is unlikely that genuine progress on tackling the health and anti-social behaviour problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption can be achieved.

“This problem is not going to go away. Ministers may duck the difficult decisions today but tax-paying voters will again be left to pick up the tab of the higher healthcare costs from alcohol abuse tomorrow.

“We intend to continue to work with ministers to highlight the benefits.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said he was in favour of the decision to shelve the plans as it would have penalised responsible drinkers.

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A spokesman for Southwold-based Adnams said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to implement a ban on below-cost selling (duty plus VAT) which encourages responsible retailing. The spokesman said Adnams will continue working with responsible drinking campaigns.

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