Minimum alcohol pricing is to launch in Scotland in early 2018, followed by Wales and then possibly England as well.
The scheme has been cleared by the Scottish courts following a five year legal battle with drinks manufacturers. It will mean off-licenses, supermarkets, bars and restaurants will all have to sell alcohol for at least 50p per unit.
The scheme means each 440ml can of Stella Artois must cost atleast £1.05 and a 3l bottle of Frosty Jacks will have to be sold for at least £11.25.
Responding to the news, the manufacturers of Frosty Jacks, Aston Manor Cider said the law would “adversely affect legitimate consumers” and also “disadvantage legitimate retailers and producers.”
There are concerns that the regulations may help the illicit trade and retailers near both the Welsh and Scottish borders with England told Retail Express that they fear their customers border hopping to save money.
However, other retailers and the NFRN were more positive, pointing out that the scheme will force supermarkets to raise their prices, and could also increase margins on alcohol sales.
Ferhan Ashiq, owner of Day-Today in East Lothian, said he expects minimum pricing to have a minimal impact, stating: “If anything, the law will give independents a helping hand by prohibiting multiples from undercutting us with low prices and special offers.”
The Welsh Government has announced plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing as soon as possible, awaiting bill approval and the Scottish court decision. UK Parliament said last week that it “Will consider the evidence” on the Scottish scheme’s impact and then make a decision for England.
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