The sale of alcohol below a price of the cost of duty plus VAT will be banned in England and Wales from the 6th April 2014 as long as the legislation required is approved.

The ban is designed to “…prevent businesses from selling alcohol at heavily discounted prices and aims to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and its associated impact on alcohol related crime and health harms”.

The ban will take the form of a Mandatory Code of Practice applying to all licenced premises in England and Wales.

The government has given a series of worked examples in its guidelines, showing how much we are now likely to pay as a minimum for our alcoholic drinks. This also includes ready to drink cocktails, but beer below 1.2 percent will not be subject to the rules.

Glass of Beer (c) The Economic VoiceAnd for those hoping that the supermarkets will get round this with a buy one get one free offer it will come as a bit of a disappointment to hear that the government have factored this in as well. When giving offers the minimum price will be decided by the amount of duty and VAT for both (or more) products combined.

But “Free drinks provided an ad hoc basis, for instance those offered as compensation for late food service, do not count as sales because the customer has not paid anything for the drink” says the guidance.

The rules will also apply to sales through reward cards and to staff on a discount basis.

What makes this a little more palatable today of course is the news that there is a tidal wave of cancer threatening the health of the world and one of the main contributors is alcohol consumption.

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