CEO Statement Minimum Pricing Consultation Launch

07 March 2011

In response to today�s launch of a joint consultation on minimum pricing by the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) , Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster said:

�We welcome the launch of the consultation on a minimum price for alcohol and hope that this is the first step in the process of bringing about effective legislation on the issue in Northern Ireland. �The availability of cheap alcohol has had a serious impact on health and antisocial behaviour and is an ongoing issue for Pubs of Ulster and indeed the wider community. As a result, Pubs of Ulster has been at the forefront of the fight for the introduction of minimum pricing in Northern Ireland. �Northern Ireland now has the opportunity to introduce effective legislation ahead of the rest of the UK and Ireland. However, this legislation needs to go further than the recent proposals set out by the Home Office for England and Wales, where the proposed minimum price was based on duty plus VAT resulting in a price of 21p per unit for beer and 28p per unit of spirits. We hope that legislation in Northern Ireland will take into account expert advice and extensive evidence that suggests that the price should be much higher, at least 50p per unit. �In addition to minimum pricing, the consultation is also seeking views on the introduction of a social responsibility levy. Pubs are the only licensed premises that already pay a substantial social levy due to the current commercial rating system which means that pub property rates are an average of 30% higher compared to any other commercial property, including other sectors of the licensed trade. We would like to see greater equality in the system, ensuring that the pub trade is not additionally penalised but instead that this levy is added to the supermarkets that now sell the majority of alcohol in the province.�