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Should there be a minimum price for alcohol?

09:18 UK time, Friday, 21 May 2010

Supermarket chain Tesco says it wants to see curbs on the sale of cheap alcohol during this parliament. Do you agree?

Tesco has welcomed a promise by the coalition government to ban below-cost sales of alcohol in England and Wales. But the UK's biggest retailer has gone further, proposing the more radical step of introducing a minimum price.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Peter Fahy said there was a British culture of excessive drinking that was encouraged by low prices. He went on to say he was very pleased that the price of alcohol was being addressed because of the "huge impact" it has "on both the police service and the health service".

Should the government set the price for alcohol or should it be left to the retailers? Is excessive drinking a result of low prices? Will a minimum price make any different to the drinking culture?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Ha ha ha, Tesco, if you're wanting to curb the sale of cheap alcohol why not put your prices up now, don't sell your alcohol cheaply - it will have a detrimental effect on your summer sales of the stuff but surely, if you're that determined to want to change things, you'll do it........won't you?

  • Comment number 2.

    The Leg-less Tax

    We have already got The Lung-less Tax

    When will they introduce The Eat-less Tax?

  • Comment number 3.

    I am a sensible drinker. I do not drink cheap alcohol, I drink better quality stuff. I do not see how any minimum price would affect me. If this proposal stops gangs of drunken youths populating our village then I am all for it. As a sensible drinker I am sick of being exposed to drunken yobbery and I am all for any sensible options that prevent idiotic drunkeness, reduce crime and make town, city and even village centres a safer place for all.

  • Comment number 4.

    Supermarket chain Tesco says it wants to see curbs on the sale of cheap alcohol during this parliament. Do you agree?

    Unbelievable, Tesco's, who helped pioneer the sale of alcohol as a 'loss leader' to entice people into the shop, turning round and now asking for a ban.

    The price of alcohol doesn't bother me, I don't drink that much & I'm in full time work, but obviously such a move will penalise the poorer members of society.

    I think I'll just ponde3r more on Tesco's utter hypocrisy - 'Who? Us? Start the whole cheap supermarket booze culture - Never'

  • Comment number 5.

    No. Not ALL people are drunken hooligans. I thought we was supposed to have a free market economy. Don't firms get fined for price fixing? (what's the difference) If you want to stop the loutish behaviour then how about stiffer penalties?

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes the cheaper the better.
    I'm turned 50 now and love a drink.
    I never cause anyone any trouble because most of my drinking is done at home.
    Why should I and many other responsible drinkers suffer.
    Its time we punished the people who repeatedly cause trouble, stop making this just an excuse to put the price up and make some more money.
    I'm fed up with this country always punishing the decent people, and making excuses for the riff-raff.

  • Comment number 7.

    Its not about the price of alcohol, its about a lack of self control, lack of behavior standards and a lack of effectively applying the law.
    If everybody that was drunk on the street and is now taken to hospital where they wake up and are given a cup of tea and told not to do it again, were to wake up in a cell, held there until they could be placed infront of a magistrate and punished you would see the problems associated with alcohol diminish.

    Now we will have the bleeding hearts telling us its not their fault and nobody understands them.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely the 'minimum price' is set by taxes.

    If a minimum price is set arbitrarily (without taxes), then Tesco's gets more profit - so obviously they want it. If the government raises the tax on alcoholic drinks, then the taxpayer benefits more.

    There's nothing stopping Tesco's setting their own minimum price if they're that concerned about health...

    So, if the government thinks the price of alcohol is too low, they have an easy remedy. (They could give tax breaks to pubs if there's a concern that a tax increase would harm them)

    Personally, I don't think supermarkets should sell alcoholic drinks at all - they're too impersonal and can afford to use alcoholic drinks as a loss-leader.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Tesco have cheap booze supermarkets in France ? maybe they need more shoppers' to go on booze cruises'all higher prices do is bring more exports from much cheaper countries in the E.U.? {Legal for your own use} What is realy needed in the U.K. is enforcement of the laws we have in place ? very heavy fines for ALL the supermarkets' and corner shops who sell alcohol underage children this happens every day in Cardiff.

  • Comment number 10.

    We will probably go back to the good old days now when you get approached by some youngster asking you to buy some booze for them.
    Except this time the youngster will be about 25.

  • Comment number 11.

    People need to remember that most of the population drinks alcohol in moderation and should not be penalised by the actions of comparatively few. Although, as someone who is teetotal/ a driver maybe if the selling of cheap alcohol was banned the pubs would be more reasonable with the price of soft drinks. £2 for a lemonade from a pump - what a con.

    However, to see Tesco's championing the cause is a joke. Of course they want the minimum prices introcuced, they won't then have to sell loss leaders to be "competitive".

  • Comment number 12.

    Tesco exists to make money. The reason why they wish to limit alcohol prices to cost or greater is because due to their scale and purchasing power, 'cost' for them is cheaper than most other outlets! Hence they'll clean up on alcohol sales.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Every Little Helps" does it Sir Terry?

    Apart from agreeing with comment #1, I wonder what it is about the UK, echoed in the reported words of Peter Fahy, that drives us to want to punish the many for the sins of the few. It seems that even in a "condem" age the state must still nanny everyone, even a shopkeeper, and a police officer.

    The spirit of the "new" UK - "I'll do it, if you'll do it" - sounds just like Cameron and Clegg wanted it to.

  • Comment number 14.

    No. Keep it cheap. I want to stay drunk until we have a better government.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes there should be a minimum price. A VERY minimum price! ;-)

    We need affordable booze to blot out the disaster of this new government!

  • Comment number 16.

    "Supermarket chain Tesco says it wants to see curbs on the sale of cheap alcohol during this Parliament"

    Hahahahaha! That's a good one Tesco!The last time I heard such a cynical, mealy-mouthed response as this was from a politician!

    What is stopping Teco raising its alcohol prices today? Oh yes, their profit margins.....

  • Comment number 17.

    Home brew kits on sale now.

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't think that pricing has much effect on excessive drinkers. If that were the case, pubs and clubs would sell very few so-called Alcopops or 'slammer' drinks. Drunks (of either sex) get drunk because they have little to no self-control or pride. They've got the money and they'll damned well get legless if they feel like it and to Hell with the consequences! Witness the sordid scenes on city pavements at closing time almost every night of the week. No, the availability of discounted booze or disposable cash is not a problem to most of these people.

    What might be the problem is the extension of drinking hours by NuLabour, the enforced closure of thousands of pubs by excessive taxation and, dare I say it in our restrictive society, the loss of smoking privileges anywhere except Parliament’s bars. These two examples of ill-advised government micromanagement have resulted in the loss of 'locals' where peer pressure has always controlled the excesses of the few. All that's left are the now 80% restaurant country free houses for the PC brigade and the city centre nitespots (deliberately misspelt) for the young and overpaid to get wasted after a day of pressurised work.

    If Tesco want prices held artificially high, I can guarantee that it is not from altruistic motives. It's to bolster the bottom line!

  • Comment number 19.

    Nice one tesco. Good bit of PR there. Forsight. AYE AYE

  • Comment number 20.

    Whilst minimum pricing clearly works as it has in other countries, i can't help but wonder why us responsible drinkers should pay more for our alcohol because binge drinkers don't know what moderation means. Doesn't enough of our tax money already go to mopping up after these people?

  • Comment number 21.

    You only have to look at other European countries to realise that price is NOT the cause of, or solution to, binge drinking - or if it is, the correlation is the exact opposite of what the proponents of minimum pricing think it is and want to achieve.

    The countries which have the lowest prices - mainly southern European - have the least problems with binge drinking, and those - mostly northern European - which already have much higher prices have the worst problems. So either raising prices actually INCREASES binge drinking, or the two things have no relationship and there is some other underlying cause.

    Personally I think it's cultural, rather than cost-driven. The southern European nations have a much more relaxed attitude to alcohol in general. Alcohol - in moderation - is seen as a totally normal part of daily life, rather than being demonised as it is here. But *drunkenness* is much less tolerated - it's not seen as having a good time, it's seen as shameful and disgraceful.

    This is what needs to change, and if it can't be done by education, it needs to be done by enforcement - much harsher treatment of public drunkenness, stricter control of licensed premises and serious penalties for infringement. The laws to achieve this already exist but they are not being used effectively.

    I also think it's completely wrong to require shop staff to act as police, judge and jury by refusing to sell alcohol to someone they 'believe' may be buying it for someone under age (because the staff can face prosecution otherwise). This is guilt by accusation, has no right of appeal or redress, but is typical of the sort of laws brought in by the previous government where your rights can be taken away at the drop of a hat without accountability - essentially it's the same as requiring people to report their neighbours on suspicion, or be held responsible for anything they do wrong. The shop should not have any rights or responsibility over the actions of customer after they have left the premises - the offence should only be for the *purchaser* to supply alcohol to a child, although the shop should have a duty to *report* this if they think it's happening.

    Better policing is the answer, not expecting market forces and fear of secondary liability to do the job.

  • Comment number 22.

    It wont really make any difference. Isn't one of the reasons that meths is drunk is because it has similar (albeit more damaging) effects and is cheaper than alcohol? Making it mre expensive will just encourage people to consider alternatives.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why should the vast majority of sensible people be punished because of a few twonkers. Minimum pricing hurts those who can least afford it such as, pensioners, low paid workers and people trying to keep a household together on one income. What is needed to curb irresponsible drinking is a punishment regime that will deter the idiots, the violent and those who have a problem with drink. Example, if you are charged with a public order offence because of drink make it a minimum fine of £100 and then for each re-offence double the fine, that will curb most because when they've sobered up and they realise next time it's double they'll think twice about re-offending. Also, if you need hospital treatment because of drink and it's your own fault, then you should be given the hospital bill for your treatment. One thing we have to get away from is penalising the innocent to pay for the crimes of the guilty.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why do we consistently try to punish the sensible, law-abiding drinkers? The alcohol problems facing this country centre around the selfish, pathetic, ill-disciplined morons that are the current 16-21 year olds.
    I think most people would agree that the legal drinking age must be raised to 21. The government would never agree to this as it would lose too much in tax revenues. Their policy of 24hr drunken debauchery is fuelling this pathetic state of affairs.
    Any idiot with half a brain could sort this problem out in a flash.

  • Comment number 25.

    Why is that you have cheap alcohol in France, but not the same problems with loutish behaviour, or health.

    rather than all the complexities about a minimum price, which can mean a bigger mark up for the retailer, just increase the duty, but ring fence the income for dealing with issues caused by excessive drinking.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why not put up the duty? This option is not open to the Scottish government, but is available to the UK government.

    Instead of the benefit of the higher prices going to increase the profits of brewers and/or supermarkets, it could be used to reduce other taxes. Those who consume less than average would pay higher prices for their alcohol, but most of them would pay less tax in total as a result of reduced taxes in other areas.

    The principle of transferring more of the weight of general taxation to those who behave in an antisocial way, should be applied in other areas. There would be a double benefit, less general taxation and less antisocial behavior.

  • Comment number 27.

    Leave us alone.
    Extreme arrogance on the part of politicians thinking they know better than us again.
    I hope any ban on cheap alcohol will extend to the House of Commons subsidised bar?

  • Comment number 28.

    Three things come out of this. 1. Who will pocket the extra millions made by overpricing. 2. How is this going to stop the drinking problem. Like drugs, if they can't afford it they will go out and steal for the cash. Use the existing laws and leave the law abiding citizens alone to have a cheap and quiet drink when they want to. 3. How many kids will suffer nutritionally as more of the income is spent on more expensive alcohol.

  • Comment number 29.

    Alcoholics have an addiction. Making their fix more expensive will just encourage them to forego other essentials like food, which would be particularly damaging as because everyone knows, getting drunk on an empty stomach is more harmful.

  • Comment number 30.

    If we say that there are three locations where people drink, at home, on the streets, in pubs/bars clubs. Then where is the problem with 'cheap' drink. It certainly isn't in the home. How many cases of public disorder in someone's home have you heard of?

    My local authority banned the drinking of alcohol in the high street area of town years ago.

    So that leave pubs/bars/clubs and yes I've seen a lot of offers for cheap drinks advertised there.

    I would propose a two fold approach:

    Firstly an additional charge on town centre drinking places to pay for extra policing. This would cause them to put their prices up.

    The offence of being drunk and disorderly in a public place to be enforced with the penalty being a suspended fine/imprisonment provided they report to a police station on a number of weekend evenings to sit in a room, doing nothing between 7 pm and 2 am and then let off home.

    A few weekends with no fun and we will see the end of binge drinking.

    As for controlling alcholism, start at home. My company bans anyone having a drink and returning to work, isn't it about time the commons did the same?

    But do not think you can legislate against drinking per say. They tried this in the USA in the 1920's and got Al Capone.

  • Comment number 31.

    For alcohol or an alcoholic beverage? The difference being in the amount of alcohol in them.

  • Comment number 32.

    'Should there be a minimum price for alcohol'? is the HYS question.

    As cheap alcohol genie is already 'out of the bottle', I am rather suspicious of Tesco breaking ranks on this issue?

    Will stick to A**a perhaps? I look at a supermarket's overall policy and behavior and support supermarkets who don't focus on invading every high street and know they will cause possible detriment to independent shops?

  • Comment number 33.

    I am sure nobody will notice a small number of price hikes in the garbage wines on offer from this and other supermarkets. Quite frankly,I would not use many of these wines to cook with!!!

    Seems rather disingenuous to take a moral high ground and a stance of helping the community. How much of the profits from these companies are put into the community. Don't make me laugh....

    Was it not the good folk of Gerrards Cross who were 'given' a certain supermarket in spite of the fact that 93% of the population did not want it. Not an isolated case. The beauty of my local town was ruined some uears ago by an unwanted supermarket in the middle of town.

    I despise these companies, and remain loyal to local producers, so often pushed to the verge of bankruptcy by the larger chains.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    The price of alcohol won't make a blind bit of difference (this is Tesco trying to get rid of Bargain Booze and the like).

    Our attitude to being drunk needs to change.

    We drink when we are happy.

    We drink when we are sad.

    We drink to celebrate.

    We drink to commiserate.

    As soon as the world cup started to draw closer - the shops advertised cheap alcohol - so we also associate sport with alcohol.

    We laugh about what we get up to when we are young.

    We think that we aren't harming anyone when we are older.

    Making it dearer won't change that at all..
    Bit sad really.

  • Comment number 36.

    Our binge culture has been entrenched by the "free market" policy of allowing supermarkets to sell alcohol at near enough wholesale prices. Coupled with the smoking ban, brewery practices of buying up the free pubs (and the indentured labour of brewery landlords), business rates, rental increases etc. The pubs and clubs just can't compete price wise. People (uually older) either stay at home and drink/smoke in comfort. Or they buy bulk from the supermarket, get drunk and then go out to "socialise" in the pub/club. This has effectively removed the oversight of the landlord (and sometimes other customers) in recognising when a customer has had too much and packing them off home before they get in trouble.
    Tesco are hypocrites and I would rather see them prevented from selling booze entirely. Bring back the off-licence for home drinkers (the other casualty of "free competition" with supermarkets).

  • Comment number 37.

    A little hypocritical coming from Tesco’s.

    Something needs to be done about the alcohol problem we have in this country that's for sure and cheap access to alcohol is, IMV, one of the causes. Excessive drink is linked to cheap prices!

  • Comment number 38.

    No, price is not the problem, and a minimum price would hurt the poorer sections of society that may drink in moderate.
    The answer is to change the culture in the UK which means it is no longer acceptable to regularly get drunk. We need people to realise that there isn't anything clever in getting drunk. In many cases price is irrelevant, they go out with the intention of getting drunk. and will pay whatever it costs to achieve this.
    We also need to clamp down on drunken behaviour by fining people if they are extremely drunk in public, and also not tolerating any illegal acts they might do when drunk even if they are relatively minor. If you hurt them in the pocket through fines they will start to change their behaviour. This is what happens with speeding fines, if you are hit with a fine for speeding you moderate your behaviour. Such a response would mean the people causing problems are penalised, not the majority of law abidding citizens.

  • Comment number 39.

    Peter Fahy's comments address the symptom, not the cause. Low prices do not encourage binge drinking, alcohol is much cheaper and much more readily available throughout most of mainland Europe than in the UK and the problem is not prevelent in those countries. The cause is something from within British society and it is this that needs to be tackled.

    On a personal note it will not affect me at all. I travel within France and Spain quite a lot and always bring my alcohol back from there, if these proposals go ahead there will be an increase in booze cruise's!

  • Comment number 40.

    This whole plan only works if all sources of alcohol are controlled and the "4 B " can't be. They are booze cruising, booze smuggling, home brewing and worst bootlegging. Everyone has brought the odd bottle back from abroad, but we will be back to the old days of queues of white vans at Dover docks and a lot of those will be doing it for gain ie smuggling. All lost revenue for the NHS. They keep complaining we do not know how much we drink but with home brews, there is no strength / units on the label, and wine, beers and alcopops are easy and cheap to make. More lost revenue and more cost to the NHS. Until a few years ago industrial alcohols especially industrial methylated spirits (clear and odourless not the blue smelly stuff you can buy) was tightly controlled, but now it is not. There have already been cases of bootleg vodka made with this by criminal gangs causing blindness. At £7 a bottle not really big money in it but at £14? They will be knocking out copies of everthing, safer and nore lucrative than other drugs. So in summary if you want to reduce NHS funding, increase NHS workload, cause more death and injury, and encourage organised crime bring in minimum pricing. Oh and to all those who say it will not affect them as they only drink the good stuff, sorry but the shops and pubs will maintain the price differential and you will pay much more for your premium drinks. And you will be at risk of going blind if the pub is selling bootleg spirtits!

  • Comment number 41.

    "At 10:52am on 21 May 2010, JohnH wrote:
    If we say that there are three locations where people drink, at home, on the streets, in pubs/bars clubs. Then where is the problem with 'cheap' drink. It certainly isn't in the home. How many cases of public disorder in someone's home have you heard of? "

    Much of the public disorder problems will start off with cheap drinking in the home, people getting themselves 'tanked up' on cheap alcohol from the supermarket before heading off out for the night.

    And, although not necessarily 'public disorder' the position of alcohol in domestic violance incidents must surely come into the around the effects of cheap drinking at home....?

  • Comment number 42.

    A minimum price will only affect less well off drinkers – it will have no effect on the more affluent. It certainly won’t prevent Mr Cameroon’s successors at the Bullingdon club from drinking themselves insensible. However People on low incomes, who arguably have more of an excuse to be drink dependent, will have to forgo expenditure on other things such as food, which could be harmful to their families health.

    This return to nanny state control freakery is deeply disappointing after the libertarian noises the government has been making over the last few days. I suppose all politicians and all political parties are much the same at the end of the day. Oh well this coalition wont last forever – the opportunity to vote them out will come soon enough.

  • Comment number 43.

    If T**co behaved more 'considerately' we might have respect for their 'declaration' on so-called cheap alcohol?

    Certain major supermarkets are not content with huge shops out of town? Then they decided they needed a 'mini' version on every high street too - if that's not disingenuous enough, they take this 'moral' high ground on cheap alcohol?

    Back off big boys - you have done enough - you make enough for share-holders - globally; how about paying more to suppliers and farmers in UK?

  • Comment number 44.

    We dont need parliament to start setting prices on retail sales.
    If Tesco want to stop discounting let them get on with it.
    If its a moral stand by Tesco's they should not be bothered if sales go to other supermarkets seems like they wqant to be Pious but also not lose any money.
    This for once is a market forces item and the price should be set on the free market.
    Tesco would do well to look at the ruin they are causing to towns and villages with their aggressive Building and sales campaigns.

  • Comment number 45.

    Another marketing ploy by Tesco to try and turn around Government imposed directives to their benefit. Their promotion of cheap alcohol will no doubt have been detrimental to the vulnerable. Now they try and portray themselves as guardian of the nations best interest. Shame on you Tesco and in particular shame on you Terry Leahy for allowing it.

  • Comment number 46.

    Do the people who think cheap alcohol is the cause of the problem really think this through? If you put the prices up, will the troublemakers curb their drinking? Of course not, either because they have more money than sense, or if they're criminal, they can steal, or at worst they can use industrial alcohol. Putting up the prices is most likely to affect pensioners and those in poverty. Like so much in our policies today, the "powers" that be go for the soft option and decline to stand up to the troublemakers.

  • Comment number 47.

    The problem is not drinking it is drunkenness. You will not solve the problem by making drinking more difficult, you solve it by tolerating drunkenness less. The answer is simple and already in place: enforce the offence of "drunk and disorderly" much more rigorously.

  • Comment number 48.

    If Terry Leahy has said he there should be no loss leading alcohol products, I wonder which face he said it ouit of.

  • Comment number 49.

    Recommending comment 12. Rufus McDufus.

    The notion that Tesco's is making a moral stance is laughable. Do they think we are thick? The only way we will get around Tescos' cynical exploitation is by the minimum price being set at a level that won't put Tescos' competitors out of business, and won't allow Tescos to make a killing.

  • Comment number 50.

    I recently travelled from my local airport to Europe on buisness, flying before 7 am. At the same time there was a cheap holiday flight to Turkey.

    What struck me was the number of families buying large jugs of larger. I know these people were on holiday but they hadn't left the UK yet. 6.30 in the morning and they were downing larger like it was going out of style.

    I do know that a lot of foriegners; Europe, the USA and far east all thing we as a nation drink too much.

    Will the condems do something about it, will they be accused of promoting the 'nanny state' like labour, wait and see.

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course the supermarkets want to make more profits...and being forced by government to make more profits will leave big smiles on their faces.

    If they want to tackle the problem then alcohol sales should be completely put in the hands of fully licensed premises as it used to be.But remember this ,all that will happen is we will see a return of the continental beer runs.

    The problems that we see are not just about the alcohol, its the whole way our society is developing,while we see it as widespread acceptable behaviour to be sprawled drunk in a town centre every weekend then the problem will not go away.

  • Comment number 52.

    We have had the idiots of the Scottish parliament wittering on about this for ages now, at least in Scotland we will have the chance to show our disgust for the concept at the election next year. Remember in Scotland it is legal to dispense Methadone at 6am but illegal to sell booze till 10am - go figure that one!

    But as for Tesco, the answer is very simple - buy all your booze from Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda or Morrisons for the next 8 weeks over the world cup and just watch Tesco slash their prices!

  • Comment number 53.

    Our local One-Stop shop (owned by Tesco's) has large signs splashed across the Shop entrance "Cheap Booze Here",

    And it is cheap too but as we all know every little helps - Tesco!

  • Comment number 54.

    Isn't the bar in the Palace of Westminster a duty-free bar?

    In which case politicians' arguments that people cannot be trusted where cheap alcohol is available are a complete joke!

    In any case, why should I pay more just because some people don't know how to behave?

    I've drunk too much in the past on nights out and will probably do so in the future, but I have never been in a fight or arrested because of it.

    Those who enjoy a drink will always find the money, the same as they do with cigarettes.

    The ones who cause trouble when they're drunk, or who drink too much too often, only have thenselves to blame. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

  • Comment number 55.

    The British have always had a 'booze culture', even before Hogarth's engravings exposed the effects of the promotion(by the government) of distilling in Gin Lane ,
    "Drunk for a penny
    Dead drunk for twopence
    Clean straw for nothing"
    Ending cheap drink promotions won't resolve it, there will be an increase in alcohol smuggling, people will still binge drink at the weekends in city centres.
    A tightening up on public order offences, coupled with safe drinking education programmes at school and on TV/Radio etc is the only way forward.
    The anti-smoking campaign is a long term project too.

  • Comment number 56.

    Yes, ''every little helps'', one pence.

    Addicts/People will just change to other cheaper drugs/home brews.

    What's good about that Tesco(who likes ''sliced bread'' ideas) and Mr Policeman(who likes his speed cameras) ???

  • Comment number 57.

    First off, lets not beleive that Tesco- a big supporter of selling items below cost to force competitors out of business (just like the other major supermarkets)- is doing this for the public good!
    Remember the bread wars of the late 90s? There are now no local bakeries in my town at all, only franchises and supermarkets selling the usual high quality factory produced homogenous cardboard.

    The idea of making a unit of alcohol a minimum price is only because this is the one area Tesco is losing in the supermarket wars to Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons. Pure and simple.


    Let us turn the tables on all the big supermarkets on this and return proper competition to the market.

    Make no item other than a new release or end of line product available for sale at less than cost price!

    Whilst it is remains legal for a huge conglomorate to sell a product cheaper than the manufacturer can produce it there is no hope of anyone, leave alone a smaller business, being able to undercut them and make a profit because it is mathematically impossible!

  • Comment number 58.

    Let the market decide.

  • Comment number 59.

    What a hoot. All you posters who say you don't buy "cheap" booze from supermarkets, regret the loss of the "local", blame government regulation or the greed of the pubco's for all societies ills.

    Times change. "Locals" were dying long before the latest round of regulations. The main culprit was the bonfire of regulations in the 1980's when "tied" houses were outlawed. The new pubco's that were not "tied" to brewery took a hardheaded business look at their estate and sold off or closed unprofitable "locals" similar to the Rovers Return and Queen Vic (which don't exist nowadays in anything but a soap).

    The younger generation aren't interested in nursing a pint in the "local" for three or four hours. They've their own transport, money in their pocket and the "barns" in the local town to provide company and entertainment. Everyone else with family and mortgage now buy from supermarkets and have small gatherings at friends houses. They use pubs for a quck meal and a pint.

    As many "experts" have pointed out alcholism is a hidden disease that affects all classes. The holier-than-thou brigade of posters say they drink sensibly but I wonder how many of them "need" their daily fix.

  • Comment number 60.

    Are we going to continue with the lazy policies of the previous government - the idea if you make things more expensive for responsible people, the irresponsible will miraculously start to behave themselves?

    If drunk people are causing a problem, deal with the people who are drunk. Do not penalise those of us who are capable of enjoying a drink without getting legless and acting in a disorderly manner.

  • Comment number 61.

    Call me cynical but maybe proposed new restrictions on building new supermarkets which will more effect the big 3 chains may have an influence in Tescos new stance.

  • Comment number 62.

    Should there be a minimum price for alcohol?

    How hypocrtical can you get .......... I suppose in light of this ,Tesco would seem the obvious answer !

    Of course retailers would back higher prices for anything , that would make them even more obscene profits , which is the ONLY way one could describe the profit margins made by Tesco !

    If Tesco REALLY want to take the moral high ground in a campaign against alcohol , why don`t they take a unilateral stand to refuse to sell alcohol in any of it`s outlets ? Could the answer possibly be that to take such action would most certainly affect their previously mentioned "obscene profits " ?

    Remember Tesco are NOT in it for any other reason than to make profits and they seem to do that "obscenely well" , they do not care for anything or anyone as many will tell you who make complaints about them , including BBC`s own "watchdog" programme which has featured complaints about Tesco on many occasions.

  • Comment number 63.

    "3. At 09:57am on 21 May 2010, Dr Prod wrote:
    I am a sensible drinker. I do not drink cheap alcohol, I drink better quality stuff. I do not see how any minimum price would affect me"

    The proposal in Scotland was 50p per unit which as most Whiskey is 30 units/bottle would mean the cheapest Whiskey will be at least £15 a bottle. Do you REALLY think that the decent malts will remain just a quid or two more than the lowest quality stuff or do you think the price will creep up to keep the difference between the cheap and the good stuff?

    More annoyingly the £2.99 reds that I cook with will be close to £6 a bottle. That means that Coq au Vin suddenly becomes a rather expensive dish to cook at home (especially as Jamie Oliver is hell bent of banning cheap chicken too)

    In addition if booze goes up in price so does the total VAT on it... by slowly increasing the price from 50p a unit to 55p a unit to 60p a unit the govt can get far more VAT without increasing the VAT rate..... just look at petrol if you don't believe that.

  • Comment number 64.

    When you see alcohol being sold cheaper than bottled water you know something is wrong.

    I think this whole mess lies at the feet of the 24 hour drinking culture and the local Councils failing to manage the situation.

    Punish the shops who sell alcohol to drunks and too cheaply
    Punish the landlords who serve alcohol to drunks
    Make the pubs and clubs pay for the Policing in our towns - not the sensible Council Tax payer

    That should do it.

    I'd hate to see punishment for all when, as usual, its the minority who cause all the problems!

  • Comment number 65.

    37. At 11:10am on 21 May 2010, PaulRichard2 wrote:
    "A little hypocritical coming from Tesco’s.

    Something needs to be done about the alcohol problem we have in this country that's for sure and cheap access to alcohol is, IMV, one of the causes. Excessive drink is linked to cheap prices"

    Which is exactly why Tesco say they support more controls... as they don't want to go bust these controls have to be imposed on all sellers otherwise people wanting cheap booze will go to a competitor. I don't support the plan but I don't see how its 'hypocritical'.

    Mind you if Tesco started selling the cure for cancer at 50p a cure they'd be condemned for putting high street chemists out of business so no matter what they do the little englanders will use HYS to have a go at them.

  • Comment number 66.

    #25 - Allan

    You ask why despite cheap alcohol in France they don't have same problem?

    Simple, because the French aren't British! Southern European countries, along with Germany, Austria and the like similarly seem to cope with cheap alochol without the puking and general anti-social behavior it causes in UK.

    I'm afraid that for as long as Brits can't control their use of alcohol Sir Terry is probably right.

    Personally I buy my wine in France and Belgium, where the quality is much higher than in UK the for similar priced bottles (€ 4.50 - € 5.50) than the extremely alcoholic Ribena that is sold in UK (UK wine tends to be 13 - 15% alcohol in UK, versus 12 - 13% in France). Perhaps the alcoholic content of UK booze also needs addressing?

  • Comment number 67.

    It is always the few that end up paying for the many and this is no exception.
    I have not been into a pub for years, nor would I owing to the anti smoking ban. Many pubs have a closed area where smoking could be permitted as do other businssess that cater for the public.
    Iresponsible binge drinkers will not be deterred by price but could well be deterred by arrest and a very hefty fine.
    A previous comment recommends buying cheap drink from Tescos's competetors for the football World Cup, another very good reason not to hold this in the UK.
    Why is it not possible for football fanatics just to enjoy watching a game without having to resort to getting drunk at the same time?

  • Comment number 68.

    Minimum pricing is utterly pointless and will just make matters worse. Those who drink excessively are not going to change their habits simply because of cost. Look at the massive increase in tobacco duty.

    People will continue to drink as much, but will have less money for essentials such as food, clothers etc. Expect an increase in burglaries and thefts as people find means to supplement their income.

  • Comment number 69.

    On balance I agree with the idea of minimum price. It should however be based on the alcohol content, not so much a pint but so much per unit of alcohol. It will not be a tax but a minimum selling price. Public house prices are unlikely to be affected, possibly except for happy hours (if they are still "legal").

    As for the suggestion of nipping over to France to get some in cheap, Gordon's devaluation of the pound by 20% has made "euro" prices somewhat more expensive in pound terms. It's probably cheaper for the French to come here now!

  • Comment number 70.

    Back to the booze run in France then. First stop will be Tesco in Calais!!!!

  • Comment number 71.

    The price of alcohol makes no difference to the way people behave, people will find a way legally or illegally to drink to excess if thats there intent. The only way to curb the trashy behaviour is to get tougher and send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated. if any emergency services are called the drunken fools should be handed a bill,£80 fixed penalties do not work obviously and if they can't pay it then they should be put to work cleaning the streets and alleys where they vomit and urinate.
    I am surprised that we put up with it seeing as though our council tax pays for the attention these people require.
    We are finding things tough and occasionally treat ourselves to a cheap bottle.I would question Tesco's reasoning on this one. Are they really concerned or have they discovered that the loss leader thing isn't raking in the money they thought it would.

  • Comment number 72.

    So much for free markets. The government want to exert more control on our daily lives, and Tesco simply wants to crush its competitors. Its got very little to do with the consumer & society.

  • Comment number 73.

    A typical bottle beer can cost a little as 60p in Tesco's and £3 in a pub. Either one is heavily subsidised or the other is a rip off. Something needs to be done.

    Ifteh prices of teh two were more closely aligned, ther amy not be so much of a problem and perhaps pubs wouldn't be going out of business?

  • Comment number 74.

    Most people drink sensibly and cause no problems to anyone else
    A minority do cause problems. The binge drinking chavs.
    Some RTAs are caused by drivers over the drink drive limit (bad news), how many are caused by drunk non drivers.

    If I have understated the chav problem how about changing the name of this country to CHAVIELAND?

  • Comment number 75.

    Maybe next time tescos will suggest a maximum price for milk to encourage kids to drink more and help the dairy farmers or maybe a maximum price for fruit and veg to help us all to eat healthy bit hypocritical really I thought Tory philosopy was market forces and not intervention thereby creating a nanny state this coalition is certainly confusing some people lol

  • Comment number 76.

    65. At 12:21pm on 21 May 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    37. At 11:10am on 21 May 2010, PaulRichard2 wrote:
    "A little hypocritical coming from Tesco’s.

    Something needs to be done about the alcohol problem we have in this country that's for sure and cheap access to alcohol is, IMV, one of the causes. Excessive drink is linked to cheap prices"

    "Which is exactly why Tesco say they support more controls... as they don't want to go bust these controls have to be imposed on all sellers otherwise people wanting cheap booze will go to a competitor. I don't support the plan but I don't see how its 'hypocritical'.

    Mind you if Tesco started selling the cure for cancer at 50p a cure they'd be condemned for putting high street chemists out of business so no matter what they do the little englanders will use HYS to have a go at them."

    Erm, I’m referring to the fact that Tesco's has been equally responsible for selling cheap supermarket booze thereby contributing to the problems we have with excessive alcohol, my comment has nothing to do with killing off the competition. In that regard it is hypocritical, suddenly taking the moral high ground so to speak!

    And no, if they sold cheap cancer cures I would not be having a go at them.

  • Comment number 77.

    Tesco wants the price of alcohol fixed so that none of their competitors can have an advantage by undercutting them and taking sales away. They, of course, will simply use their power to pay the suppliers less, the Govt the same (in tax), and the rest in more profit for them. Their greed and hypocrisy is unbelievable.

  • Comment number 78.

    Cigarettes are sold at very high prices as a dissuasion to smoke. It has certainly led to many people quitting smoking. Alcohol when drunk in large quantities can be bad as tobacco, so why wouldn't we want to treat alcohol in the same way as smoking?

  • Comment number 79.

    No worries, just leave my Merlot out of it!!

  • Comment number 80.

    64. At 12:19pm on 21 May 2010, Clive Hamilton wrote:
    When you see alcohol being sold cheaper than bottled water you know something is wrong.

    Yes. It means bottled water is grossly overpriced. The stuff costs more than petrol.

  • Comment number 81.

    im a working mum who doesnt always have a lot of disposable inmcome so i like to make use to the beer offers and 3 bottles of wine for £10.00. i agree own brand supermarket is cheap but you never see kids /young adults buying it! only recently i was in the queue with my cheap bottle of wine behind me a group of girls about 19 with a large bottle of smirnoff vodka. well out of my price range yet within theres as they all live at home no bills to pay no council tax or morgage. yet again its another way of getting at the struggling working class family. thanks all.

  • Comment number 82.

    Are Tescos going to stop selling alcohol at a loss before the other supermarkets? Are they going to stop selling 2for1s and multibuys before the other chains?

    Put up or shut up, Tesco. All that will happen out of this, if acted upon, is that large supermarkets will make a lot more money on alcohol. Anyone who thinks price or legality has an impact on abuse should check out 30s era America.

  • Comment number 83.

    There is a difference between drinking to feel blissfully drunk and becoming totally legless.

    There is also a difference between being law-abiding + sociable when drunk and becoming an anti-social, violent idiot.

  • Comment number 84.

    Has the astronomical price of petrol had a noticeable effect on the number of cars on the road? And driving isn't even addictive!

    We don't need new legislation. Try bringing back proper licensing hours first, and prosecuting licencees that serve alcohol to those already under the influence.

  • Comment number 85.

    Thank God for my local cricket club. Although the bar's only open on match days or for social events, my pension CAN afford a pint or two there at sensible prices - but not at my 'local' which is charging nearly £4 a pint for its brew to keep up with rents, rates and other costly levies! That translates into 3 Pints = 1Ltr of Scotch at supermarket prices which equates to 26 tots-plus-a-mixer at home.

    Atificially raising the price of Scotch to the equivalent of 'X' pints of beer will just keep me drinking scotch at home while shunning beer and the pub forever. Of course, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrissons, Asda and the rest will chortle all the way to the bank with these windfall profits - that is, until George or his mate snatch it away to help pay Labour's debts in their emergency budget.

    Before the PC among you clamour for increases in the price of booze to curtail drunkenness, the price of cigarettes to save me from myself and other retail costs, just think of where the tsunami will arrive when you've thrown your do-gooder pebble in the pool.

  • Comment number 86.

    I thought labour weren't in power anymore? It seems that the nanny state is still very much alive and kicking!

    Another measure to raise tax, using health as an excuse! If this is true why not ban booze, and fags for that matter, altogether!

    Perhaps the money would be better spent solving the root cause of these issues rather than introducing something that will punish reponsible people for the actions of a minority?

  • Comment number 87.

    While people still think it is acceptable to be drunk in public, then no amount of price changing will alter the outcome. This is a social issue not a financial one.

    If people come into your place of work boasting about how much they had to drink over the weekend, then you should let them know you do not find it amusing or even acceptable. Perhaps eventually they may get the message as more and more people actually show how they feel.

  • Comment number 88.


    I got to say i agree with the person that posted at 09:54. I listened to that woman on the video and wondered between herself and the rest of the board of directors on the Tesco board,how much they get paid and bewteen them, they cant make a decision. talk about slopey shoulders.

  • Comment number 89.

    First of all Tesco is a shop. Shops do not determine policy. Governments better not allow shops to determine policy. Policy is determined by listening to us, the voter.

    Of course Tesco, a shop, would want minimum pricing wouldn't they? They would not have to discount so much and having done their market survey to determine how it would affect them financially, Tesco (A shop) has decided that they will not lose money. If all shops were governed by this, Tesco (A shop) would actually gain money. Making more profit from higher prices.

    Now if the government were to say no to minimum pricing and yes to higher taxes on drink, then Tesco (a shop) would obviously realise that they would not benefit financially. They would then soon be crying out and complaining. Tesco's (the shop) position is about money not our health.

    While minimum pricing is ant-competitive. It penalises everyone for irresponsible behaviour of a minority, when laws already make it illegal to sell drink to drunk people, to be drunk and disorderly. Indeed Tesco's (the shop) bring up the issue of underage drinkers as being important to their shoppers. Are Tesco (the shop) unaware that this is already illegal.

    When the authorities have exhausted ALL possible existing legal avenues in trying to bring the yob culture under control, then and only then will I be open to any suggestion of anti-competitive pricing.

    This cultural issue is not one of price but one of inaction by the authorities to do anything and a tacit acceptance of such behaviour.

    Drink hasn't let the law abiding, controlled drinker down, the government has, the legal profession has, councils have the police have and the badly behaved irresponsable drinkers have.

    Use the law as it stands. Stamp it out. Name and shame. While Tesco (the shop) you keep out of it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Alcohol should only be sold in dedicated alcohol outlets, ie the old fashioned off licence and licenced properties.

  • Comment number 91.

    Of course Tescos are for the minimum price. They then wont have to discount the prices therefore discount the profit….

  • Comment number 92.

    Jeez it makes me cross that AGAIN the many have to suffer for the FEW IDIOTS. Most people enjoy a few drinks and dont cause any trouble and pay the cost of the pratts that get drunk, fall about, cause a problem, rising prices will never solve the issue those in the positions making the decisions should know that or are they to stupid or arogant because they may well earn a lot of money and any increase in price will not make any difference to them.

    The UK has got into a Country that is lost and while improved in some ways needs a lot of education for those in power in others.

    DONT increase the cost it will hurt the wrong people

  • Comment number 93.

    Tesco, amongst the other Supermarkets, are hugely responsible for the increase in Binge Drinking and now they want to come across as being the caring sharing face of the retail industry. Sir Terry Leahy and the Tesco Board are nothing short of hypocrites. They have made hundreds of millions in profits from alcohol sales and will continue to do so.

    Why should I and others who drink responsibly and moderately be the ones to suffer for the actions of the binge drinking minority? The Government should crack down heavily on those who cause problems fuelled by over consumption of alcohol. If someone is arrested for being drunk and disorderly then they should be fined £500 in the first instance, increasing by £250 for every subsequent offence. People who have to be taken to hospital because of injuries sustained whilst drunk should be billed by the relevant hospital for their treatment. People who are arrested for fighting whilst drunk should be given fines of £1000 and Community Service orders. Those who assault members of the Emergency Services or NHS Staff should be jailed for three months minimum. Penalise the yobs not the responsible drinker!

  • Comment number 94.

    Call me cynical but I think the government are only doing this to increase tax dollars.
    Over the last 20 years it has been proven that all increased taxation on alcohol does is shut pubs causing increased job losses.
    Every budget for as long as I remember, alcohol tax has increased and yet STILL we are being told that people drink more.
    The new government need to get real and start tackling the social issues that have led to a culture of heavy drinking.

  • Comment number 95.

    I don't think Tesco introducing a minimum price to alcohol will cut down on binge drinking at all, young people who want to get drunk would not go to the supermarkets but to the independent off-licenses where it is easier to get hold of it, so i think those places need to be addressed to get a result for binge drinking.

  • Comment number 96.

    Pure hypocracy. Tesco would not support a price rise unless all other retailers are forced to raise their prices. Provided they can raise their prices and blame the government they will be happy.

  • Comment number 97.

    As usual the government decide to punish the poorer people for what everyone is doing. Putting the prices up will make the poor people who enjoy a drink even less well off or stop them having a drink altogether. Yet the other side of the money scale will still be going to the towns getting drunk and causing trouble, then what? You will ban alcohol? You have to take one look at the celebs in the tabloids, drunk, staggering out of taxis, the indecent exposure and making a fool of themselves to realise that its not only the poor people who are binge drinking.

    What this country needs is a higher drinking age. 21 for alchohol then its alot harder for 14-17 year olds to be staggering around the streets/parks with chea tesco beer.

  • Comment number 98.

    It needs a multi-faceted approach. At the very least we need 1) Resale Price Maintenance, based on ABV, at a price that allows UK brewers/distillers/etc to make a profit, 2) No cut-price offers, e.g. Happy Hour (in pubs/bars), BOGOF (in shops) or similar, 3) No advertising based on price-to-buy anywhere, except at the immediate point of sale in the store/pub.

    Ideally the 24-hour drinking laws should be repealed, as most intelligent people would surely agree that they have exacerbated rather than diminished the problem. If Britons can't be trusted to drink responsibly, their opportunities to drink to excess should be curbed in as many different ways as possible.

    By the way, I enjoy real ale and, having attended dozens of beer festivals over the last 20 years, I can honestly say that I've never seen violent behaviour at any of them, nor any drunkenness that even remotely compares to the outrageous behaviour seen in any town centre on the average Friday/Saturday evening.

  • Comment number 99.

    Re: #27. Mike from Brum wrote: "Leave us alone. Extreme arrogance on the part of politicians thinking they know better than us again. I hope any ban on cheap alcohol will extend to the House of Commons subsidised bar?"

    Well said about the arrogance, Mike, but you're a little wide of the mark with regard to Parliament's bars. They've been enjoying their drinks at not-for-profit prices for years. Hence the reason so many MP's hire the Terrace Bar for their progeny’s wedding receptions!

  • Comment number 100.

    I am old enough to remember when beer was only sold in Public Houses and Off Licences - these being open only during Pub opening hours. No other shop or supermarket was allowed to sell alcohol. If we went back to that method it may be possible for pubs to reduce their prices and cure the scourge of underage drinking. Pubs are closing at a rate of knots as they are too expensive - take the cheap end away and reduce prices where sensible drinking takes place - everyone wins


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