News story

Crackdown on availability of cheap alcohol

Retailers will be banned from selling alcohol below the rate of duty + VAT under new plans announced by the Home Office today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

To tackle the growing concern over how cheaply some alcoholic drinks are being sold, the government intends to introduce a new proposal which would prevent retailers from selling a 1 litre bottle of vodka (37.5 per cent abv) for less than £10.71 and a 440ml can of lager (4.2 per cent abv) for less than £0.38.

This is an important first step in delivering the government’s commitment to ban the sale of alcohol below cost.

Minister’s quote

James Brokenshire minister for crime prevention, said: ‘We know that pricing controls can help reduce alcohol-related violent crime and this is a crucial step in tackling the availability of cheap alcohol.

‘In nearly half of all violent incidents the offender is believed to be under the influence of alcohol. That’s why we believe it is right to tackle the worst instances of deep discounting.

‘By introducing this new measure we are sending a clear message that the government will not stand by and let drink be sold so cheaply that it leads to a greater risk of health harms or drunken violence.’

As part of the considerations of how to achieve the coalition commitment to deliver a ban on below cost sales the Home Office carried out a review of alcohol pricing over the summer.

The review of pricing and associated research reports, also published today, not only shows the complex nature of this issue but demonstrates a link between a rise in the price of alcohol and a reduction in alcohol harms.

Notes to editors

1. The government’s review of pricing and associated research reports can be found in the alcohol pricing section of this website.

2. Examples of duty + VAT on a selection of alcoholic drinks:

Product: Can of lager
Volume: 440 ml
Strength (% abv): 4.2
Duty: £0.32
Duty + VAT: £0.38
Product:Bottle of cider
Volume: 1 litre
Strength (% abv): 4.5
Duty: £0.33
Duty + VAT: £0.40
Product: Bottle of wine
Volume: 750 ml
Strength (% abv): 12.5
Duty: £1.69
Duty + VAT: £2.03
Product: Bottle of whisky
Volume: 700 ml
Strength (% abv): 40
Duty: £6.66
Duty + VAT: £8.00
Product: Bottle of vodka
Volume: 1 litre
Strength (% abv): 37.5
Duty: £8.93
Duty + VAT: £10.71

3. For more information ring the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.

Published 18 January 2011