Morrisons has called for legislation that would see retailers fined £25,000 for selling alcohol below cost.

In a letter to home secretary Theresa May, the supermarket said it supported a ban on the sale of alcohol below the price of duty and VAT.

It wants legislation included in the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Bill or via a private members bill.

In the letter, Morrisons director of corporate affairs Richard Taylor wrote: “As a leading British retailer, we recognise the dilemma that exists over the sale of discounted alcohol for government and the industry.

“Having considered the arguments thoroughly, Morrisons believes the best way for the government to intervene is to introduce a compulsory ban on off-licence sales of alcoholic beverages below the rate of duty and VAT.

”There are two advantages to this proposal over other approaches to tackle ‘below cost selling’. It does not require the government to intervene in the market to define what cost is [and] additional revenue will be accrued by the Exchequer, not the industry.”

Commenting on the proposal, Taylor said: “We believe that this mechanism, if enshrined in law, would provide an immediate and fair approach to stem the misuse of alcohol.

“If the government thinks the price needs to be raised, it can do so with confidence by raising duty and ensuring the money goes to the Exchequer.”

Read more
Editor's Comment: Why I’m in favour of a minimum price for alcohol (5 June 2010)
Industry blasts NICE's 50p/unit pricing plan (5 June 2010)
Why a below-cost booze ban will be harder than it sounds (analysis; 29 May 2010)
Tesco boss Leahy backs below-cost booze ban (21 May 2010)