Northern Ireland

Poots says Executive plan to raise minimum price of alcohol

Beer
Image caption Edwin Poots says the Executive is determined to introduce new laws that will raise the price of alcohol

The Health Minister Edwin Poots has said the Executive is determined to introduce new legislation to raise the minimum price per unit of alcohol.

He has accused supermarkets of acting irresponsibly by selling alcohol at very low prices.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has said prices and promotions do not cause irresponsible drinking.

They have said it is a cultural issue they are addressing through education and information.

Mr Poots told the Politics Show:"I am aware of one supermarket in the run up to Christmas not last year, the previous year, having a £20m loss leader on alcohol.

"I do think supermarkets really do need to reflect on where they sit in society.

"We shouldn't have to intervene, but the irresponsibility of supermarkets and others is causing a situation where we do."

In March, the Executive said the minimum price for a unit of alcohol should be between 40 and 70 pence and launched a consultation on the issue.

Former Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said alcohol misuse was costing the health and social care sector almost £250m a year.

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