UK to introduce ban on below cost+VAT alcohol sales next week

The UK Government has approved an order banning sales of alcohol priced at lower than the cost of duty plus VAT. The Order will be implemented next week following both Houses of Parliament signing off on the measure last week.

Ministers had originally postponed plans to introduce the ban in April 2012 in favour of following up on Minimum Unit Pricing but with this now being referred to the European Court of Justice, the ban on selling below the cost of duty plus VAT now seems more attractive.

Under the regulation a 440ml can of 4% ABV beer will have to cost at least 41 pence while a 75cl bottle of 11.5% ABV wine must cost no less than £2.41 and a litre bottle of 40% spirits must cost £13.55 or more.

The new regulations will form part of mandatory licensing conditions.

“Figures released by the Government last year showed that between them six out of seven supermarkets sell a staggering 220 million litres of alcohol below-cost each year,” stated the Strategic Affairs Director for the UK Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers Kate Nicholls, “The new legislation will finally address this – but it will only tackle the very worst excesses.

“With more than 70% of alcohol now consumed away from the safe, supervised environment of a pub or bar – and the latest research showing two-thirds of consumers citing price as the main factor behind that – we need swift, tough and effective action not only to tackle pocket-money prices but to impose the same regulation of promotional activity in the off-trade as pubs, clubs and bars currently face.

“We cannot go on allowing a tide of cheap alcohol to undermine the good work responsible pub and bar operators are doing to deliver the Government’s public health and public order agenda.”

For more information goto: Guidance on banning the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT

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