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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 690 - Alcohol pricing [21586/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 690 - Alcohol pricing [21586/15]. (09 Jun 2015)

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690. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the progress of Government plans to outlaw below-cost selling of alcohol; his plans to introduce the public health (alcohol) Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21586/15]


Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The General Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was approved by Government on the 3 February 2015. The Scheme includes provisions for minimum unit pricing, health labelling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol and the regulation of sports sponsorship. As part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, the measures were debated by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. The hearings commenced on the 10 March and concluded on the 23 April.


The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will make it illegal to sell or advertise for sale alcohol at a price below a set minimum price. Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) sets a minimum price per gram of alcohol. The minimum price of an alcohol product would be based on the number of grams of alcohol in the product. MUP is a targeted measure, aimed at those who drink in a harmful and hazardous manner, and designed to prevent the sale of alcohol at very cheap prices. MUP is able to target cheaper alcohol relative to its strength because the minimum price is determined by and is directly proportional to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink. The University of Sheffield study reported that the alcohol products most affected by this policy are those that are currently being sold very cheaply, often below cost prices, in the off-trade, i.e. supermarkets and off-licences. On the other hand, the study found that a ban on below-cost selling (implemented as a ban on selling alcohol for below the cost of duty and Value Added Tax) would have a negligible impact on alcohol consumption or related harms.


The Department of Health is continuing to work on the preparation of the legislation. It is expected that the Bill will be published during the Spring/Summer Session 2015.

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