Ban cheap drinks deals, says UK Gov't
10 November, 2008
All-inclusive drinks deals and cheap supermarket alcohol should be banned, according to British MPs.
All-inclusive drinks deals and cheap supermarket alcohol should be banned, according to British MPs.The UK Home Affairs select committee’s Policing in the 21st Century report has suggested setting a minimum price on alcohol, in a bid to stop reckless drinking over-burdening police. The report said that the biggest challenge for police was violence and disorder caused by excessive drinking of cheap alcohol. Drinks deals include happy hours- where bars and pubs discount drinks, or all-inclusive deals where customers pay a set price for entry and have access to drink all evening. UK supermarket deals include three-for-two offers and many supermarkets sell alcohol as a loss-leader.KeithVaz, chairman of the committee, said retailers must end a "pile it high, sell it cheap" culture around drink.He told Radio 4's Today programme: "At the moment you have a situation where so much of police time is taken up dealing with alcohol related crime."Happy hours lead to unhappy communities. Loss leaders in supermarkets cause real misery to city centres on a Saturday night."Scotland's new licensing laws include powers to fix alcohol prices to stop cut-price promotions and happy hours. Ministers in Edinburgh said they would look carefully at the report and possibly seek to set a minimum price for drink. A Home Office spokesman said: "We know the police and the public remain concerned about alcohol-related disorder. "We have given the police, licensing authorities and trading standards officers arange of tough powers to tackle alcohol-related disorder, including on-the-spot fines, confiscating alcohol in public places and closing down premises that flout the law."Alongside this, the Department of Health has commissioned an independent review on the effects of alcohol price, promotion, consumption and harm which will be published shortly."British Beer and Pub Association director of communications Mark Hastings said: “We welcome the Committee’s call for a ban on loss leaders when it comes to the sale of alcohol. There has been broad and growing concern over the role playedby supermarkets when it comes to loss leading promotions, and their role in fuelling excessive drinking. It is time this practice ended. “We would also support a ban on irresponsible promotions in pubs and clubs. Pub companies have taken action to end dodgy promotions, but the sector is hamstrung from going further by competition law. In contrast, the supermarkets have done nothing but increase their extreme discounting offers.”