Ed Miliband cheekily asked David Cameron what, if anything, “he could organise in a brewery?” after the government’s u-turn on minimum unit pricing. This week, the Chancellor George Osborne gave brewers all the excuses they needed to throw the proverbial shindig on their premises by cutting the price of a pint of beer by a penny and pushing the emergency stop button on the dreaded duty escalator.
“Cameron will be keen to avoid more embarrassment and the wrath of the health lobby”
Ronan Hegarty, news editor
However, before they get too inebriated there will inevitably be a sting in the tail. Cameron made it very clear that minimum pricing meant more to him than simply just another government policy and he will be keen to avoid any further personal embarrassment, let alone face the wrath of the health lobby.
An outright ban on below-cost selling is almost a certainty and, to be fair, would not come as a major blow to the industry. But crackdowns on higher-strength beer and cider, tighter rules on marketing and greater segregation of alcohol in store may well prove harder to swallow.
The fight for the nation’s livers is certainly not over yet.