Alcohol pricing: a ‘U-turn’ or a warning shot?

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In November 2012, home secretary Theresa May launched a 10-week consultation on implementing a minimum price of 45p per unit of alcohol and banning multi-purchase deals, such as two-for-one offers. The home secretary stated that anti-social behaviour and a fraction under half of all violent crimes were fuelled by alcohol.

In addition, excessive alcohol consumption is estimated to cost the taxpayer around £21bn a year through related crime and healthcare. In supporting the consultation, and with a view to reform, prime minister David Cameron accepted that an increase in alcohol prices would not be nationally popular but that alcohol consumption had to change.

On 17 July 2013, the government clarified its policy on alcohol regulation. In short, the previously suggested measures are to be replaced with less stringent restrictions. The new proposals supposedly demonstrate a ‘balance’ between tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder while protecting responsible drinkers in a difficult economic climate. However, the opposition considers this move a ‘U-turn on flagship policy’…

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