Minimum price plan for England and Wales

15 March, 2009

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson is set to recommend a 50p-a-unit minimum pricing level on all alcoholic drinks.

The controversial move is widely reported in Sunday’s newspapers and would result in a wine with 14% abv costing no less than £5.36.

Scotland is already preparing to introduce minimum pricing in a move which has been described unworkable at best and illegal at worst. The debate on government-fixed drinks prices will prove just as contentious in England and Wales.

The proposals would be certain to provoke a backlash from MPs who either fear minimum pricing breaches European law or risks alienating constituents who are already suffering in the economic downturn.

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, told The Sunday Telegraph: “This would hit the pockets of hard-working families who are already struggling to make ends meet, and it would not deter those people who drink to get drunk.”




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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