|Alcohol strategy consultation to launch this week|
|Written by Gemma McKenna|
|Monday, 26 November 2012 10:54|
The government is set to launch the alcohol strategy consultation this Wednesday, which will consider at what level the minimum unit price should be set.
The consultation will also propose a ban on multi-buy deals - which already exists in Scotland.
Despite staunch opposition from within government and the drinks industry, the prime minister hopes to save £15 billion over 10 years by cutting down on binge drinking and its associated problems.
Last week the Wine & Spirits Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said minimum unit pricing was "the very definition of unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation".
He added: "At best it [the government] will be entangled in a legal challenge and difficult parliamentary scrutiny for years. At worst it will lead, inevitably, to retaliation against the UK drinks industry in international markets, hampering the sector's ability to drive growth through much needed exports."
The consultation paper is expected to consider whether 40p, 45p or 50p would be the best level to implement, although there has been disagreement between the Treasury and the Home Office on this already.
According to WSTA figures, an £8.72 bottle of vodka would increase to £10.50 under a minimum unit price of 40p, and £13.13 at 50p.
Back in August, the Office of Fair trading expressed "reservations" about the "unintended consequences" of a minimum price for alcohol.
The watchdog stated that introducing a minimum price for alcohol would "generate windfall gains for retailers", with increased spending on alcohol going directly to private firms rather than the government.