Minimum Price for Alcohol Announced

Posted: Wednesday, 19 January 2011 @ 12:59

The government has just announced its plans for the minimum price for alcohol, which it sees as a key instrument in its battle against “binge drinking” and the social and health consequences of alcohol abuse.

The method they have opted for, the rate of duty plus VAT, is the easiest to legislate for and enforce. It also follows that every time the duty changes, so will the minimum price with immediate effect. This ensures that increases are passed on to the customer where minimum prices are being charged.

So, what will this mean for the average buyer? Very little, in fact. Most drinks and drinkers will be unaffected. It is only the supermarkets who “deep discount” who are likely to be troubled. The average corner shop cannot afford to loss lead, and certainly not pubs.

The minimum sale price at the current rate will be as follows:

Lager: a 440ml can of 4.2% - £0.38
Cider: a litre of 4.5%- £0.40
Wine: a 750ml bottle of 12.5%- £2.03
Whisky: a 700ml bottle of 40%- £8.00
Vodka: a litre bottle of 37.5%- £10.71

On average this works out at 21p a unit for beer, and 28p per unit for spirits, a far cry from the 50p per unit minimum at one time being promoted. But the government will say it is a start in the right direction. Just how it will affect our drinking culture remains to be seen.

Nigel Musgrove

Licensing Law Specialist

01285 847001

Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
Call Nigel on +44 (0)1285 847 001 or by email
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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