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Lib Dems Win Council Backing for Minimum Alcohol Price Call

February 27, 2009 6:06 PM

The Liberal Democrats' call for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol, to stop shops selling alcohol at a loss, has won the backing of Bedford Borough Council.

The Lib Dem proposal was made at a full council meeting on Wednesday, and the Council will now write to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport calling for the move.

Commenting on the issue, Liberal Democrat Cllr for Goldington Ward Henry Rogers, who made the proposal, said: "It is unacceptable that big supermarkets sell alcohol well below its cost. The sale of below-cost alcohol encourages binge drinking, crime and anti-social behaviour and is harmful to public health. It also distorts the market and is very damaging to local community pubs.'

"Alcohol related violence, disorder and illness is a huge problem. If supermarkets are not prepared to act responsibly they must be forced to do so."

Bedford Borough Council already operates a minimum price scheme for pubs in Bedford Town Centre through the 'Bedford Town Centre Price Agreement.' Under this voluntary agreement, pubs pledge not to sell alcoholic drinks for less than £1.50 as part of the approach to tackling disorder in the town centre. This hit the headlines recently as the Wetherspoons pub chain did not run their high-profile 99 pence-pint promotion in its Bedford pubs. Thanks to the Lib Dems' successful proposal, the Council will now put extra pressure on the government to introduce a national scheme to apply for all alcohol sales which will set a fair, socially responsible minimum price.