Response from SIBA to government announcement on Alcohol Strategy
Keith Bott, chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said, “We welcome the government’s announcement that it has decided not to introduce minimum unit pricing at this time.
“This is the approach advocated by SIBA in its submission to the government’s consultation on Alcohol Policy. We felt, as the government clearly feels, that there is was not sufficient evidence that minimum unit pricing would counter problem drinking without penalising responsible drinkers.
“On the ban on below-cost selling, we would prefer to see a genuine measure of below-cost, rather than the tax and VAT included in today’s announcement. This would, we believe, see an end to the most irresponsible alcohol promotions in supermarkets, without having a detrimental effect on beers that are sold, like the majority of our members’ output, in the pub.
“The government has set industry a challenge to strengthen its commitment to combat harmful drinking and SIBA will of course work alongside our industry partners to rise to this challenge.
“The government’s historic decision to cut beer duty in this year’s Budget was recognition that draught beer is a relatively low-alcohol drink, enjoyed for the most part in the sociable, supervised environment of the pub. SIBA welcomes this recognition and will continue to push for a redressing of the balance between the price of beer in pubs and supermarkets, as a way of and encouraging more consumers into pubs which are, as many MPs now acknowledge, part of the solution to harmful drinking, not the problem.”