The Government has delayed its plans to bring in minimum pricing for alcohol, after a consultation due for the summer was put back.

Ministers were due to consult before the return of Parliament on proposals for a minimum unit price – suggested at 40p – and a possible ban on multi-buy promotions. But this week Lord Henley, parliamentary under-secretary of state at Defra, told a debate in the House of Lords the consultation would now not begin until the autumn.

The move comes as the Scottish government pushes ahead with plans for a 50p per unit minimum price.

Lord Henley argued against calls for further regulation on alcohol advertising and defended the government’s Responsibility Deal, which he said was “beginning to make progress”.

But he quashed talk of minimum pricing being abandoned south of the border.

“In our strategy for England and Wales we announced that we will bring in a consultation on the level of minimum unit pricing, not on whether we should have it,” said Lord Henley.

“We will be doing that in the autumn. We shall put forward a range of options as to what would be appropriate. There will also be a commitment to consult on a ban on multi-buy promotions.”