Shelving alcohol price plans will ‘cost lives’ in Sunderland

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NORTH East campaigners have claimed that a decision to shelve a minimum price for alcohol will “cost lives” in the region.

Home Office minister Jeremy Browne yesterday said policy makers will not look to implement the proposals in the near future.

Mr Browne told the House of Commons: “This will remain a policy under consideration but will not be taken forward at this time.”

He added it would be made illegal to sell alcohol at less than the cost of duty plus VAT, meaning a can of lager could not be sold for less than about 40p, from spring 2014.

Mr Browne also ruled out a ban on multi-buy promotions due to a “lack of convincing evidence” that it would have a significant effect on consumption.

Colin Shevils, director of North East alcohol office Balance, said: “We’re bitterly disappointed by today’s announcement.

“Without doubt it will cost lives across our region, while failing to cut alcohol-related crime and reduce the burden on our already overstretched hospitals.

“Banning the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT will make no impact whatsoever in tackling the damage done by alcohol sold at pocket money prices.”