Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): As the Home Secretary knows, 50% of crimes are alcohol-related, according to the British crime survey. May I welcome the Government’s proposals for a minimum price for alcohol? They are of course in keeping with the recommendations that the Home Affairs Committee made last year, but will she look at the level of pricing? She is putting it at 21p per unit, whereas health campaigners say that it should be 50p per unit. Let us make this a genuine exercise, not just a box-ticking exercise.

Mrs May: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his question, and I also commend the Home Affairs Committee for its work in this and a number of other areas. He refers to a minimum price for alcohol, but we are banning below-cost sales of alcohol, and we have set that cost at VAT plus duty. That is slightly different from a minimum per unit price for alcohol, but it is important to recognise that, in relation to cracking down on problem drinking, we have taken not only that step but a number of other measures of the sort that I set out in my earlier response.