Minimum Alcohol Pricing: Anger Over ‘U-Turn’

March 13th, 20136:12 am @

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Conservative MPs have spoken out as speculation grows that David Cameron’s plans for minimum pricing of alcohol are being scrapped.

The Prime Minister has backed the controversial policy, which medical groups argued would save lives.

A base price of 45p per unit was suggested in a consultation document issued last year, with the Government yet to release its conclusions.

But a number of Cabinet ministers including Theresa May, Andrew Lansley and Michael Gove have signalled their doubt over the scheme.

And more MPs have been reacting to increasing numbers of reports that the coalition Government will not try to implement the plan.

Posting on Twitter this evening, Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston – a former GP – wrote: “Very concerned about suggestion that minimum pricing to be dropped from alcohol strategy.”

Fellow Conservative Tracey Crouch said: “I really hope rumours of u-turn on minimum unit pricing for alcohol are not true. We must tackle problem of easily accessible cheap alcohol.”

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said consumers would welcome the move.

“Minimum unit pricing would penalise responsible drinkers and treat everyone who is looking for value in their shopping as a binge-drinker,” he said.

“Evidence has also shown it will do little to tackle problem drinking,” he said.

Labour’s shadow home office minister Diana Johnson said: “This is weak leadership and weak government. The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister said this measure would cut crime and prevent alcohol abuse. What’s changed?”

Eric Appleby, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “MUP (minimum unit pricing) is a targeted measure designed to protect the young and the vulnerable heavy drinker.

“All the evidence shows it will save lives and reduce crime and we mustn’t allow the interests of big business to derail this important policy.”

Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/1063814