NOffLA welcomes introduction of minimum unit pricing on alcohol in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Health Minister Jim Wells MLA is to introduce a baseline price below which alcohol cannot be sold
8 December 2014
The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has welcomed an announcement by Northern Ireland Health Minister Jim Wells MLA to introduce a baseline price below which alcohol cannot be sold – aminimum unit price (MUP). NOffLA previously welcomed the Republic of Ireland government’s decision to set a MUP for each gram of alcohol in the product and looks forward to its implementation as part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
Commenting on the announcement, Evelyn Jones, government affairs director, NOffLA stated: “This decision by Minister Wells is further confirmation that the introduction of a minimum unit price on alcohol is one of the most effective mechanisms by which we can promote the responsible retailing and consumption of alcohol. We are calling on the government of the Republic of Ireland to follow suit as part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
“Given the cross-border discussions on minimum unit pricing between the government and the Northern Irish Executive at the North South Ministerial Council and the British Irish Council, we call on both Ministers for Health to continue this co-operation in the setting of a unified, high minimum unit price (such as £0.60p/€0.75c) so as to eradicate the sale of dangerously cheap alcohol across the entire island.
“MUP is not an answer in itself and it is important to note that it can only be effective if the unit price is set high enough to curb the deep discounting of both branded and non-branded alcohol, particularly in the multiples. It is also important to note that the selected MUP must be effective across all categories of alcohol, allowing for the differing strengths e.g. wine, spirits and beers. Minimum pricing set incorrectly will give the appearance of action without the required reaction, namely a reduction in alcohol abuse.
“While we welcome the introduction of a minimum unit price, we are calling on the Republic of Ireland government to go further to promote the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol. The government has the power to enact legislation, Section 9 (introduction of structural separation) and 16 (a ban on discounted promotion of alcohol) of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 that would make a real impact to the everyday lives of people all over the country, at absolutely no cost to the exchequer.”