Off-trade

UK Government targets October 2014 for introducing minimum pricing

October 2014 has been set as the target date for the implementation of a minimum unit price in the UK by the Home Office in its Business Plan for 2012-2015.

It’s thought as part of the Government’s Alcohol Strategy that the minimum price will be 40p per unit of alcohol.

But the Director of Public Affairs at the British Beer & Pub Association David Wilson has described the target date as “very ambitious”, stating, “That’s obviously assuming there won’t be a legal challenge to minimum pricing. Seeing as we expect that in Scotland, to have that implementation date is very ambitious”.

The Communications Director of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association Gavin Partington added, “I think a number of people are assuming that the Home Office timetable is in some way notional because it’s based on the assumption that the legal challenge will be complete.

“Some cynics are saying this has been kicked into the long grass,” he continued, stressing that the industry needs to realise that minimum pricing is “heavily on the agenda.”

2014 may seem some time off he said “but it will come around fast”.

The Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a minimum price of 50 pence per unit is likely to be notified to the EU this June. It will be followed by a three-month period for lodging complaints followed by a further three months for a response from the Scottish Government. Legal challenges could still follow this in both Scotland and Europe.

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