Lib Dems unveil drinks manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have spoken out in favour of minimum pricing and a ban on below-cost selling.

In its pub manifesto, Giving Pubs Back to Communities, it says it backs the “principle” of minimum pricing, but stresses it must be “subject to detailed work to establish how it could be used in tackling problems of irresponsible drinking”.

When it comes to supermarkets selling alcohol below cost, the manifesto states: “The average price of a pint of beer sold in a pub is around £2.70. Supermarket deals undercut these prices with offers such as eight 27cl cans of beer for £4.

“This has caused a shift in alcohol consumption away from the controlled pub environment towards drinking at home or on the streets.”?The party also wants to review the controversial duty escalator and says it will “explore the possibility of a preferential duty for draft beers which are more expensive to both serve and store”.

The manifesto says beer duty is a “complex, ill-thought-through system of taxation” and promises a review to ensure duty “tackles binge-drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries”.