In a report released yesterday, the BMA recommended to the Government a tax increase on alcohol, the introduction of legislation controlling drinks promotions and amendments to the Licensing Act to include public health stipulations.
But BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward today insisted that the drinking culture of Britain would not be changed by “the flick of a tax switch”.
“Contrary to what [the BMA] says, since the introduction of the Licensing Act two years ago, alcohol consumption has fallen,” Hayward said.
“Equally, high taxes are not the answer. The fact is we already have some of the highest taxes and prices in Europe. Yet our alcohol problems and those of all the high tax and high price countries are significantly greater than the low tax and low price countries of Europe.”
The BBPA and its members have campaigned hard over the past year to freeze duties on beer in the next Budget arguing that tax freeze on beer would encourage drinkers back into the controlled environment of the pub – where beer sales have been falling.
Supermarket chain Morrison’s has backed moves by Tesco to ensure responsible pricing on alcohol and asked the Government to review Competition Law for pricing drink.
Off-trade retailers have been criticised by the BMA and on-trade lobby groups for selling alcohol as a loss leader.
By Christopher Walton
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