Minimum drink pricing meets stiff opposition
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Wednesday 28 November 2012
The Government's plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol will be blocked by the courts, the drinks industry says.
Shops in England and Wales would be banned from charging under 45p for a unit of alcohol or from running "buy one, get one free" promotions under the scheme announced yesterday. The Government hopes the moves, which would add £3 to a cheap bottle of vodka, will reduce binge drinking and the cost of alcohol-related ill-health. However, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association says the Government will struggle to make the proposals law.
The Scottish Parliament is already facing legal challenges over its decision to introduce a 50p-per-unit minimum north of the border. Wine-producing countries such as France and Spain have protested to the European Commission that the legislation breaches EU trade law; the Scotch Whisky Association and the European Spirits Organisation have also appealed against it.
Miles Beale, head of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said it was "breath-taking that the Government intends pushing ahead" with its proposals. Home Office sources said the Government was monitoring the legal challenges against the Scottish minimum price and was "in discussions" with the European Commission.
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