Welsh retailers have begun engaging with Welsh AMs to ensure a streamlined introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) on alcohol across the country.
MUP is expected to be introduced in Wales next year, following its implementation in Scotland in 2012, in an attempt to crack down on alcohol-related crimes. Under the legislation, alcohol cannot be sold to the public for less than 50p per unit.
Welsh district president Mark Dudden said the creation of a sub-committee to liaise with the Welsh Assembly directly, was a valuable step in preparation for the incoming legislation.
“We have been trying to get our foot in the door with the Welsh Assembly for years, it’s been a slow process,” he said. “But we are just starting to see the fruits of our engagement.”
The district is hopeful the Welsh Assembly and Alcohol Concern will join them at a meeting in September. “This is reassuring because this isn’t the result of a request, but rather them wanting to engage with us,” he said.
Mr Dudden believes MUP would level the playing field between the multiples and independent stores, but added he is concerned about tax-related issues further down the line.
“It’s hard when you deal with some individuals because they have a consumer point of view, and none of them are retailers,” he said. “My concern is they are putting together a structure which can be easily moved and turned into a taxable one.”
An additional worry, he added, is that MUP would lead to some customers travelling to nearby towns to pick up alcohol for a cheaper price.
“Bristol is only a 20-minute drive away,” he said. “People will drive there to get supplies.”
Mr Dudden said the NFRN has not ruled out working with the ACS to strengthen its position.
Read more: Minimum Unit Pricing to become legal in Wales