NOffLA welcomes call for Minimum Unit Pricing
The National Off License Association's government affairs director has welcomed the government's calls for new regulations regarding alcohol pricing and packaging.
23 June 2015
Evelyn Jones, government affairs director for the National Off Licence Association has called the Oireachtas health committee report on public health and alcohol pricing a “hugely positive step.” The report, published yesterday, calls for the introduction of health warnings on all alcohol products similar to tobacco packaging, as well as information on alcohol and calorie content and other facts pertaining to consumption. It also proposed that
In a statement, NOffLA said that there were certain points that should be addressed before the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill could be considered fit for purpose. It said the effectiveness of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) would be bolstered by a ban on below invoice cost selling of alcohol, and also by the introduction of structural separation of alcohol display areas in mixed trade outlets.
“A ban on below-cost invoice selling can and should be enacted immediately,” Jones said, “and will work hand in hand with MUP on the deep discounting of premium wines and spirits – something MUP fails to do.”
A similar bill to introduce minimum unit pricing was recently introduced to the Scottish Parliament, and is currently being referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union where it will be deemed legal or not.
However, Evelyn Jones was also critical of some of the language in the report, which implied that retailers might get to profit further from MUP. “This is a misconception,” she said, “which does not increase profits for retailers.”
Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, Chairperson of the Oireachteas Health Committee, said the report aims to “prevent harmful drinking, as opposed to tobacco labelling, whose objective is to prevent smoking altogether.”
“[with the new alcohol labels] we are targeting people to ensure they understand the difficulties associated with the consumption of excessive alcohol,” Buttimer said, “similar to labelling in France and the UK.”
The committee also recommends minimum unit pricing of alcohol “to target high risk people who are consuming alcohol to excess regularly.” The reports estimates that MUP would help to prevent alcohol-related deaths, hospitalisations, crime and loss of work hours.