The government looks set to abandon its plans for a minimum price, reports suggest

The government looks set to abandon its plans for a minimum price, reports suggest

The UK Home Office has refused to comment directly on reports that plans for a minimum unit price on alcohol in England and Wales are to be dropped.

The BBC reported today (13 March) that senior members of the UK Government are pushing for the controversial measure to be abandoned. One government source is reported as saying that the policy is on its “last legs”.

Plans for a GBP0.40 (US$0.60) minimum price were unveiled as part of a government alcohol strategy a year ago. The price was subsequently raised to GBP0.45 (US$0.67) when the Home Office launched a ten-week consultation on the strategy in November.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a Home Office spokesperson said: "The consultation on new measures closed on 6 February. We will listen to all views and set out a response in due course." 

The BBC also reported that Chancellor George Osborne is expected to make an announcement on minimum pricing in his Budget next week. 

A Treasury spokesperson said it does not comment on speculation around the Budget. 

Plans for a GBP0.50 minimum price in Scotland are the subject of an on-going legal challenge.