Cameron 'very sympathetic' to local alcohol pricing

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

David Cameron signalled support for councils that want to ban shops and bars from selling cheap alcohol.

The Prime Minister said plans to introduce a minimum price per unit of 50p in Greater Manchester would be looked at "very sympathetically".

Ten local authorities in the area want to pass bylaws to address public disorder and health issues caused by binge-drinking.

The approach was backed by doctors and health experts, but the Government - which would have to agree the local regulations - previously was lukewarm at best.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Mr Cameron made clear that he did not want to introduce a national minimum price.

However, he said: "I think the idea of the councils coming together on this is a good one and we will certainly look at it very sympathetically...

"Where there can be local decisions we are very happy for that to happen.

"It may be that we need to do something to help deliver the localist answer."

The PM went on: "I think if what you're trying to do is stop supermarkets from selling 20 tins of Stella for a fiver that's what we've got to go after.

"Where I want to try and help is ending the deep discounting on alcohol.

"People going and 'pre-loading', having bought from a supermarket where they were attracted by a price designed to bring them into the store."

Mr Cameron cautioned that a local bylaw could fall foul of competition rules, as it would mean alcohol in Greater Manchester being priced higher than neighbouring areas.

The Home Secretary would need to sign off any bylaws imposed by the Greater Manchester authorities.

The House of Commons Health Select Committee and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) are among the bodies that voiced strong support for minimum pricing.

But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley expressed doubts on the grounds that it punishes low-income families.

Comments