Pub landlords back minimum alcohol price, says Alcohol Concern Cymru study

Drinking pint of beer The study found most landlords blamed cheap shop-bought alcohol for their decline drink sales

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Publicans in Wales back the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol, a new study claims.

Alcohol Concern Cymru said its research found 77% of those questioned in support, and most blamed cheap supermarket drink for a fall in trade.

The UK government is proposing introducing a minimum price of 40p per unit for Wales and England, while in Scotland 45p per unit is being debated.

Many publicans in Wales would back a price of 50p a unit, the survey found.

About 600 landlords took part in the survey, with almost half of them, 48%, saying their sales had dropped in the last year and and 61% saying they expected that to continue over the next 12 months.

Of those surveyed, 94% said they thought cheap alcohol sold in supermarkets played a part in the decline of sales, with a majority, 56%, citing this as the main reason.

A total of 91% said they thought supermarket promotions of cheap alcohol were "hypocritical" when pub landlords felt tightly controlled.

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Alan Hayes, chair of Wrexham Licensed Victuallers Association, backs a minimum price of 40p on a unit, saying it may reduce the amount people drink, especially the young.

He told BBC Radio Wales pubs provided a safe place for people to drink safely but that they were continuing to find it difficult to compete with supermarket prices.

"It's getting hard, but we keep plodding on," said Mr Hayes, landlord of the Buck Inn, Bangor on Dee, Wrexham.

Meanwhile, landlord Phil Jones of the Open Hearth pub, Sebastopol, near Pontypool, said: "It is not going to affect supermarket prices a great deal."

He suggested the emphasis should be placed on encouraging people to drink responsibly and making community pubs more attractive to people who prefer to drink at home.

Alcohol Concern's Mark Leyshon said: "Landlords are telling us that it's unfair that they are blamed for so many of the alcohol-related problems in society, whilst supermarkets are allowed to continue to sell heavily discounted alcohol.

"There are many well-run pubs in Wales that provide a safe and sociable place to consume alcohol, but who feel they are being driven out of business by irresponsible pricing of alcoholic drinks in the off-trade.

"It's clear that a minimum price of 50p per alcohol unit would be of enormous help to the pub trade, but it would also have a positive impact in addressing binge-drinking and reducing alcohol-related harm."

Last month the Welsh government said it welcomed any move towards making minimum pricing on alcohol a reality.

It said: "We have also requested power to legislate on alcohol licensing on a number of occasions and these requests have been repeatedly rejected by the UK government."

It is said that a minimum price of 50p per unit would mean a 750ml bottle of wine of 12% alcohol by volume (ABV) would cost a minimum of £4.50

A can of beer at 5% ABV would be at least £1.25, while a bottle of vodka at 40% ABV would have to be priced at a minimum £14.

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