Rethink by PM on minimum pricing would be welcome

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Sir: Reports suggest the PM is reconsidering plans to hike up the cost of alcohol (‘Government to ditch plans for minimum unit pricing on alcohol’, thegrocer.co.uk, 13 March). If this is true it will be welcomed, not least by hard-pressed consumers.

We have always maintained MUP would penalise responsible drinkers and presumes everyone who seeks value for money is a binge drinker. It would hit those on the lowest incomes hardest and do nothing to tackle problem drinkers. For the same reason, the Chancellor must not go ahead with the hated Alcohol Duty Escalator in the Budget.

We recognise a minority of the population continue to drink to harmful excess and we are committed to tackling this problem. Instead of pushing up prices for everyone there needs to be tougher enforcement of existing legislation, better education, alongside local solutions such as Community Alcohol Partnerships.

Our members have already made significant commitments as part of the Responsibility Deal, such as removing one billion units from the UK alcohol market by 2015. The PM should work with the drinks trade to make a real and lasting impact rather than penalising hard working families.

Miles Beale, CEO, WSTA

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