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Tory MP calls for end to deep discounting of alcohol

Published:  08 October, 2008

A Tory MP has urged the government to ban the deep discounting of alcohol in the off-trade.

A Tory MP has urged the government to ban the deep discounting of alcohol in the off-trade.

MP Nigel Evans has tabled An Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for a ban on such practices, in particular criticising Asda, which was today releaved to be selling lager for less than the price of bottled water.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has welcomed the move, and said that it is pleased that the "reckless pricing policies" of supermarkets are drawing the attention of MPs.

Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "We are delighted that our longstanding campaign against below cost selling is finally gaining political traction. The ALMR is urging all MPs to sign this new Early Day Motion to promote a sensible approach to the sale of alcohol.

"Supermarket chains have argued that their priority is to offer good value to customers across the board. This is a cynical and disingenuous position which fails to recognise that alcohol is special case. Pubs and bars know this very well; they are twice-licensed to sell alcohol and to do it responsibly. It is self-evident who the responsible retailers really are.

"In its current review of responsible alcohol sales practice, the government really must consider the pricing of alcohol in supermarkets, and ban below-cost selling. This can easily be incorporated into its proposed statutory Code of Practice on responsible selling, which must be applied to both the on and off-trade."

Commenting on Asda's cut-price lager deal, Labour MP John Grogan, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group which is leading the campaign in Parliament against cut-price drinks deals said: "This supermarket has a social responsibility on the grounds of public health and public order. It seems wholly irresponsible to use cheap alcohol as a means to attract people into their store."

Last week Labour MP Sally Keeble launched a new private members bill proposing a minimum price on alcohol.