Below cost booze ban could be law by Nov 2011

A ban on the below cost sale of alcohol could be in place by November 2011 under an “overhaul” of the licensing laws promised by the Home Office.

In a “Draft Structural Reform Plan”, the department says it wants to “develop options” to ban below-cost sale of alcohol by the end of 2010 with the introduction of new legislation to enforce a ban by the following November.

The coalition government has vowed to take action to ban the sale of cheap booze in a bid to tackle alcohol misuse.

It has been in talks with the retail and alcohol industry to define “cost”. A consultation will soon be launched presenting the options.

Some supermarkets, including Morrisons, prefer defining cost as simply duty and VAT, while others want to ban sales below the cost of the invoice sent to retailers

The Home Office has also vowed to “develop options” for alcohol taxation and pricing to tackle binge drinking by April next year with any change to the law planned for next April.

The Government has ruled out minimum pricing but David Cameron has previously discussed introducing a flexible taxation policy that could mean higher duty for super strength ciders and lagers.

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