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Britain moves to set minimum alcohol price to curb boozing

The UK government was looking into three options: 40p, 45p and 50p (around 75 cents) but had likely settled on the second option.

UK alcohol salesEnlarge
Britain moves to set a minimum price for alcohol to curb overconsumption. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Britain has pushed ahead with a planned law on the minimum price of alcohol allowed in the country.

The Guardian reported that the government was looking into three options: 40p, 45p and 50p (around 75 cents) but had likely settled on the second option.

The alcohol industry has been opposed to the move.

“It is hard to understand why the Government is pushing ahead with the consultation now, when there is a wall of opposition in Europe, a legal challenge in Scotland, a lack of any real evidence to support minimum unit pricing and concerns raised from within Cabinet itself,” said Miles Beale, the chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, reported the Telegraph.

“Minimum unit pricing and the proposed restrictions to promotions will unfairly punish millions of consumers and businesses in the UK, while doing nothing to tackle the root causes of alcohol misuse."

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The government claims that ultra low prices has encouraged young people to drink and others to over-indulge.

The law would surely raise prices on everything from wine to beer because of the drastic rise in cost for stores buying in bulk and a loss in sales for producers.

There is a risk that the price minimum could oppose European law.

The Telegraph reported that in 1978 the European Court of Justice ruled that the Netherlands' minimum price law violated EU legislation by putting imports at a disadvantage.

Government officials in Britain say the move is not a endorsement of protectionism.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/121125/britain-moves-set-minimum-alcohol-price-curb-booz