Minimum alcohol pricing off the UK policy agenda, says WSTA chief

Minimum alcohol pricing looks set to stay off the UK Government’s policy agenda until at least the next General Election, the chief executive of the country’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association has said.

Current ministers are more interested in reducing harmful drinking via the existing responsibility deal with the industry, which includes a pledge to take 1bn alcohol units out of the UK market, as well as through local initiatives, Miles Beale told delegates at the Wine & Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) annual conference today (25 September).

Over the summer, the UK Government backed away from plans to introduce a minimum price on alcoholic drinks, amid repeated WSTA warnings that it would penalise a majority of people who drink responsibly.

Beale cautioned that the controversial policy ‘has not disappeared’, but is ‘on the shelf’ until at least the planned General Election in 2015.

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