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Leahy coined godfather' of binge-drinking

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco Chief Executive, has been coined the "godfather of British binge drinking" for the supermarket chain's approach to alcohol pricing.

John Grogan made the comments during a Commons debate on the health impacts of driving down the price of alcohol.

The Labour MP, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary beer group, cited Competition Commission research, which showed Tesco undercut beer and lager prices during the 2006 World Cup to the tune of 11.5 million.

He stated: "It is with regret I say this, but I do really want to charge Terence Leahy, the boss of Tesco, as being the godfather of British binge drinking.

"We are talking about selling alcohol below the cost of water. It isn't baked beans. There has to be a little bit of a different attitude."

Grogan's comments come in the wake of an earlier Commons statement by the Health Minister Ben Bradshaw, which indicated retail outlets selling cheap alcohol could face new legislation.

He said: "We remain concerned about the practice by shops and supermarkets of deep discounting promotions - often as loss leaders and below cost price of alcoholic products."

The news comes amidst strong third quarter operating figures for the group with UK sales up by 7.6%.