Local MPs back plan to ditch minimum booze pricing
MPs Austin Mitchell and Martin Vickers have welcomed plans to ditch a minimum price for alcohol – although for different reasons.
Grimsby MP Mr Mitchell said he supported making alcohol more expensive but that minimum pricing “was never going to work”.
While Cleethorpes MP Mr Vickers said the scheme would not have had its “desired effect”.
The Prime Minister today assured MPs he would “deal with” cheap alcohol being sold in English supermarkets following reports the Government had ditched plans for a 45p minimum per-unit price.
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David Cameron said his Government was considering the outcome of a consultation but said sales of “20p cans of lager” had “got to change”.
Amid laughter at Prime Minister’s Question Time, Labour leader Ed Miliband asked if there was anything Mr Cameron “could organise in a brewery”.
Mr Mitchell said minimum pricing would have been “impractical and difficult to administer”.
He added: “But there’s every reason to increase prices, particularly for lethal cheaper brands like the cider people drink on a big scale.
“The price has got to be increased to deter people, but a tax increase on supermarkets ought to be accompanied by a reduction for pubs, which would encourage social drinking and get people off the streets.
“At the moment some alcohol is certainly too cheap and while I think taxing a working man’s beer would be wrong, equally there’s a problem with loutish cider drinking.”
Mr Vickers, meanwhile, denied the Government had U-turned, saying all ministers had committed to was a consultation.
But he said he had never supported the idea because it would “yet again penalise the responsible drinker who just has a bottle of wine or can of beer on the weekend”.
He added: “My view is that the police should take a robust approach to those who are drunk and disorderly on Cleethorpes seafront or anywhere else for that matter.
“If you’re addicted, you’ll still be addicted whatever the price and as we’ve seen from the drugs market they’ll still do whatever they can to get a fix.”
The Prime Minister has long supported minimum alcohol pricing but is reported to have clashed with Cabinet colleagues, including Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Commons Leader Andrew Lansley on the issue.