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Bill launched to tackle alcohol pricing and labelling

Published:  23 July, 2008

A group of cross-party MPs are calling for tougher legislation to curb the sale of cheap booze.

Headed by Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Sandra Gidley, the MPs have tabled a Private Members Bill on pricing and labelling to stop alcohol being sold as loss leaders.

"Currently alcoholic drinks are frequently being used by supermarkets as a loss leader and that practice must stop," Gidley said in the House of Commons.

"There is clear evidence to show that the cheaper beer is, the higher the rate of binge drinking. Many alcoholic drinks are relatively less expensive than they were 10 years ago, which means that children are increasingly able to afford to buy alcohol."

The Bill also seeks to fill in the gaps where the cross-party MPs feel the Government has not gone far enough or has allowed the drinks industry to voluntary legislate.

Proposals include banning alcohol advertising before the watershed or in cinemas unless the film has an over-18 rating, and to ensure advertising linked to the sponsorship of sports events and music festivals do not "glamorise" and thereby increase drinking.

"The Government has resisted legislating on alcohol labelling, although they have encouraged the alcohol industry in that direction.

"The Bill addresses that deficit and would set a date by which all alcohol products would be labelled with clear information about the number of units in a drink, a reminder of the different safe limits for men and women and a warning about the use of alcohol in pregnancy. That would help people make informed choices about which drinks they choose," Gidley said.