Asda calls for a new deal on alcohol

Asda has become the first supermarket to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in a bid to help tackle misuse.

ASDA

The supermarket has today (22 July) introduced a “floor price” for beer, wine and spirits.

Asda says stores will not sell alcohol “below the cost of duty plus VAT”.

In a letter to home secretary Theresa May, Asda chief executive Andy Clarke says the move is “a small but important first step in the process towards creating a new way of selling alcohol in the UK.”

A one-litre bottle of vodka will not be sold below £10.49, while a 20-pack of 5% beers will never be cheaper than £8.95.

Clarke also called for a new “Responsibility Agreement” between the Government and industry to tackle misuse.

He adds the agreement should include “improving alcohol labelling, better information and education, and tackling underage sales and proxy purchasing.”

Clarke also lent his support to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s call to involve the drinks industry in the Department of Health’s anti-obesity initiative Change4Life.

The Government has committed to banning below cost sale of alcohol by November 2011.

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

Morrisons supports the duty and VAT definition, while other supermarkets want to ban sales below the cost of the invoice sent to retailers.

Tesco has previously called for a minimum price on alcohol to tackle misuse.

Separately, Asda has started what it claims is an “important rollback campaign aimed at lowering the price of the key essentials”.

The campaign starts with milk including a reduction in the price of four pints of milk in England, Wales and Scotland from £1.53 to £1.25.

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