MP condemns 'unholy price war' on spirits

MPs have been told that an “unholy price war” has broken out in the spirits aisles of supermarkets.

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland quoted a series of promotions on major brands, reported in the current issue of Off Licence News, which he described as “irresponsible”.

The MP for Leeds North West, who chairs the all-party Save the Pub group, said: “As we approach the festive season of Christmas, an unholy price war has broken out in the supermarkets over the sale of alcohol.

“Tesco are now offering two 70cl bottles of top spirit brands for just £20, Asda selling 1-litre bottles of spirits for just £15 and Sainsbury’s and Morrisons selling Bailey’s at half price.

“The Save the Pub Group warmly welcomes the Government’s intentions to bring in a ban on below-cost selling but can I ask for a statement on when that will happen and if indeed it will also cover such irresponsible promotions that don’t do anything to encourage responsible drinking and damage the pub?”

Commons leader Sir George Young said “I can confirm that the Government will shortly be introducing relevant legislation which addresses the issues you have just touched on, setting a framework where licensing authorities are properly able to address the pressures caused by excessive late-night drinking in the 24-hour licensing culture.

“It is also our policy to ban the sale of alcohol below-cost in supermarkets.”