Bargain Booze standing firm on duty increase

Bargain Booze has defended its stance on duty after a letter to suppliers was leaked to the press, leading to headlines claiming the company was telling suppliers they should

absorb excise increases on alcohol and was complicit in encouraging binge drinking.

"The letter doesn't tell suppliers that they've got to absorb the duty, it simply asks for their help," said joint managing director Matthew Hughes. "We have a duty to consumers

to get the best deal, and this is a

normal negotiation process.

"Every reasonable person will accept that health campaigners have good reason to be concerned about alcohol. But it is a significant leap to accept

this means that to sell alcohol cheaply is automatically an irresponsible thing to do.

"The UK now has the highest alcohol taxes in Europe . Countries like Spain and France can sell alcohol far more cheaply . Yet those countries have nothing like the alcohol-related social issues that the UK has. Clearly the problem in the UK is a cultural one, and not one that is necessarily driven by price."

Hughes added: "

Most proactive retailers


be seeking

to mitigate the impact of the tax hikes on their customers


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