UK government drops minimum alcohol pricing

The coalition has dropped its plans to bring in a minimum alcohol unit price.

Giving a response to the Alcohol Strategy consultation to MPs yesterday (July 17th), the government announced that the minimum price will remain "under consideration" but not something that will be pursued at the moment.

Instead, a particular focus will be placed on tougher action on pubs and clubs which are running heavy drinks promotions. Ways in which the report suggested that alcohol issues could also be tackled include increasing the annual limit of the number of Temporary Event Notices from 12 to 15, and making it illegal for alcohol to be sold for less than alcohol duty plus VAT, hence a can of lager cannot be sold for less than 40 pence. The coalition is hoping to implement the latter by spring next year.

MP Jeremy Browne said: "We do not yet have enough concrete evidence that [minimum unit price] introduction would be effective in reducing harms associated with problem drinking, without penalising people who drink responsibly. Targeted action by pubs and clubs themselves has proved hugely effective in curbing irresponsible drinking. Best Bar None, National Pubwatch, Purple Flag and Community Alcohol Partnerships are good examples of what can be achieved by industry working in partnership with local areas."

Mr Browne did suggest however that he wanted to remove any unnecessary red tape when it came to gaining a license, so that it would be easier for businesses to sell small amounts of alcohol if they wished to do so.

The original plans for a minimum price per alcohol unit had been proposed back in March. This announcement will be welcome news for pubs, which may now be able to invest this extra revenue in hospitality recruitment and training, for example.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency to help source hospitality recruitment jobs.