MPs call for end to cheap booze deals

Almost 200 MPs have called for an end to “irresponsible” price promotions on alcohol in the off-trade.

MP John Grogan’s Early Day Motion, which claims that cheap alcohol is exacerbating the problem of binge drinking, has now attracted 198 signatures, making it one of the most popularly backed motions.

Grogan said the government’s announcement that the Department of Health is to carry out a review to find any link between price and promotion of drink and irresponsible drinking had brought the issue to the forefront.

He said: “I do now think it’s very firmly on the political agenda and will be one of the items that Gordon Brown will tackle.”

Many drinks retailers are sceptical about the review, which forms part of the government’s new alcohol strategy. However Grogan said he had received support from several small drinks retailers for his petition which also calls for alcohol not to be sold as a loss leader.

“They themselves see damage to their own business because they cannot compete with the supermarkets,” he said.

In April, representatives from all four major supermarkets attended a House of Commons meeting – organised by Grogan – to discuss price promotions with interested MPs. All four denied that price promotions cause binge drinking and said the ability to compete on price was central to their continued success.