Boos Over Booze

ASDA’s bid to scrap bargain booze prices has been blasted as ‘not tough enough’. Politicians and anti-alcohol campaigners have rubbished the supermarket chain’s vow to end cost cut drink deals. The low cost, ‘loss-leader’ deals meant that the supermarkets were selling alcoholic beverages at the cost of Duty, plus only the cost of the VAT. This approach was in some cases loosing the supermarkets money on these purchases, which they hoped to recover on sundries from people being encouraged to do their weekly shopping in-store. Of course, the low cost also encourages ‘binge culture’ as the introduction of the low prices mirrors the higher prices being introduced in the bars and restaurants. It means a one-litre bottle of Smirnoff vodka will now never cost less than £10.49 and a pack of 20 Carling lagers will not be priced below £7.17. But Nat MSP Michael Matheson – who is on Holyrood’s health committee – said: “Unfortunately this move simply does not go far enough. “Setting a floor price of duty plus VAT will have a limited if any effect on consumption of alcohol – as these prices show.” Alcohol Focus Scotland Director of Services Barbara O’Donnell also demanded a much tougher response to tackle binge-drinking. She said: “Cheap cider, for example, would still be sold at a ridiculously low price. “We believe minimum pricing is the most appropriate way to reduce excessive drinking.” Source – The Sun 23/07/2010

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