Minimum price plan shelved

The government has shelved plans to introduce minimum pricing in supermarkets, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate yesterday (Dec 15) she said: "Given the current economic climate in particular, we do not intend at this moment to introduce the sort of minimum price to which my right honorable friend was referring."

But she added: "We certainly have not closed off that option for the future, and the Health Secretary is already undertaking more work into the impact and consequences of that particular form of action."

The comments were made during a debate on alcohol-related crime, and in response to Leicester MP Keith Vaz.

During the same debate Smith recognised supermarkets' responsible attitude to drinks retailing, but said they could do more to promote sensible drinking.

Replying to a call from south west Devon MP Gary Streeter for supermarkets to be more socially responsible, she said: "I agree with his point about the social responsibility of supermarkets — responsibility that I know they also take seriously and which I am sure they would want to manifest publicly."