Pubs of Ulster Statement on Minimum Pricing

18 January 2011

Following today�s announcement of the coalition government�s plans for a minimum price for alcohol in England and Wales, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster said:

�We welcome the coalition government�s plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in England and Wales and we hope that it is a step towards ending the sale of cheap alcohol across the UK, including in Northern Ireland. �The availability of cheap alcohol has been an ongoing issue for Pubs of Ulster and the wider licensed trade due to it contributing in the misuse and irresponsible consumption of alcohol which often leads to social and health related problems. �Whilst the plans are a step in the right direction in addressing these issues, a closer look at the proposals reveal that the measures do not go far enough. The proposals set out by the Home Office are based on duty plus VAT which would mean a price of 21p per unit for beer and 28p per unit of spirits. This is despite evidence that suggests that the price should be much higher, at least 50p per unit. The proposals will protect the government�s tax revenue but it will take a higher price per unit to address the health and social problems associated with alcohol misuse. �In Northern Ireland, Pubs of Ulster has been at the forefront of the fight for the introduction of minimum pricing and we now call upon the Assembly to go further and introduce proposals that will let Northern Ireland lead the way with effective legislation that will tackle the issue once and for all.�