The Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that today’s announcement on alcohol duty was part of our wider strategy to tackle problem drinking. The Health White paper today would say we need a new approach to public health: one that directly involves the many influences on our choices. Too many people die too young, spending too long suffering from preventable ill-health such as through alcohol abuse. The failures of policy to date are clear to see as we have 1.6 million people dependent on alcohol.
Asked if the Government would set the duty rates out today, the PMS said that the rates would be set out at the next Budget.
Asked whether the changes affected cider as well as beer, the PMS said that the announcement related solely to beer.
Asked when the measures would come into effect, the PMS said that they would come into effect in autumn 2011.
Asked to explain how the percentages were arrived at, the PMS said that the percentages reflected what was currently in the market and research by health and homelessness groups about the problems associated with super strength lager.
Asked how the 2.8% figure was arrived at, the PMS said the objective was to encourage the production and consumption of lower strength rather than higher strength beers and tax was one instrument by which to create those incentives.
Asked what the Prime Minister’s view on the timing and content of the Panorama programme into FIFA was, the PMS said the Prime Minister made his position clear in the interview with Football Focus at the end of last week and there was nothing further to add.
Asked what the Prime Minister’s position was on Gary McKinnon, the PMS said that the Home Secretary was still considering the case and when a decision was reached an announcement would be made.
Asked why the decision was taking so long, the PMS said that it was a matter for the Home Office.
Asked whether the Prime Minister agreed with Gordon Brown, following further Wikileaks cables showing Mr Brown had asked the US whether Mr McKinnon could serve any sentence in the UK, the PMS said that the Prime Minister made some comments setting out his position on the issue in the US in the summer and that had not changed.
Asked whether the Prime Minister was happy for Prince Andrew to remain a trade ambassador given the latest Wikileaks reports, the PMS said that he would not provide commentary on any Wikileaks cables.