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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 230 – Alcohol pricing [3681/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 230 – Alcohol pricing [3681/16]. (28 Jan 2016)

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230. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health if he will introduce a ban on the low-cost selling of alcohol products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3681/16]


Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Government approved the publication of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill and the introduction of the Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas on the 8th December 2015. The Bill completed Second Stage in the Seanad on the 17th December 2015.


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 MUP is set in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill at 10c per gram of alcohol, which equates to a minimum price of €1 per standard 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.

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