UK: Government scraps minimum alcohol prices, for now
A minimum price on alcohol sold in supermarkets will not be introduced during the economic downturn, UK home secretary Jacqui Smith has said.
Smith's comments came during a Parliamentary debate on alcohol-related crime in the UK House of Commons yesterday (15 December).
In response to a call from Keith Vaz MP for a "floor price" on alcohol sold in supermarkets, Smith said that "given the current economic climate in particular, we do not intend at this moment to introduce this sort of minimum price".
Drinks industry officials reacted positively to the news, which comes only two weeks after the government announced plans to introduce a mandatory code of practice for alcohol retailers.
Gavin Partington, spokesperson for the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, told just-drinks today: "The idea of forcing people to pay more when everyone is feeling the pinch is wrong".
Another senior industry source familiar with the situation told just-drinks that ministers are understood to have "shelved" minimum prices for the time being.
Future legislation remains a possibility, however, as Smith confirmed yesterday. She told MPs: "We certainly have not closed off that option for the future, and the health secretary is already undertaking more work into the impact and consequences of that particular form of action".
Industry sources expect the Scottish Executive to push ahead with plans for minimum pricing in Scotland next year.
Not all retailers and drinks firms have opposed the idea of a blanket minimum drinks price. One source close to Tesco told just-drinks recently that the supermarket giant might not reject such a move, if implemented across the board.
In spite of the tough conditions, rising alcohol duties and the grim task of cutting his UK workforce, George Marsden, E&J Gallo's vice president and general manager for Europe, is relishing what he c...
Like prominent Indian companies in many sectors, spirits producer United Spirits India has not only benefited from the rapid development of its domestic market but is also expanding its own internatio...
Jack Daniel's whiskey producer Brown-Forman will report its fourth quarter and full-year results this week, in what should provide further insight into the state of the US spirits market....
Concerns over health and drink-driving are fostering growth in the low- and non-alcohol beer categories. Spiros Malandrakis, drinks analyst at Euromonitor International, assesses the progress and pote...
The top ten stories published on just-drinks this week:...
The threat of a federal tax hike on alcohol and sugary soft drinks to help pay for healthcare reform in the US appears to have receded, following comments from leading Senators in the debate....
Constellation Brands has received a wrist slap in the US over the marketing of its since-discontinued Wide Eye schnapps brand....
People are turning to alcohol to relieve the stress caused by redundancy, according to research by alcohol charity Drinkaware....
- Guinness: A Great Day for St James's Gate
- Will Remy come off worse in China Cognac recovery?
- William Grant and Drambuie: It Had to be You
- Wines of the Beautiful South Ups its Game
- Can Absolut's US Headache be Soothed by Elyx?
- Bacardi-Martini appoints Southern Europe chief
- Diageo opens Guinness Brewhouse No 4 in Dublin
- William Grant gives Sailor Jerry pack revamp
- Scottish leader speaks out over Scotch whisky
- Wm Grant CMO to head Orangina Scweppes Int'l