David Cameron has said that the government will look “very sympathetically” on local councils who wish to impose minimum price levels on alcohol.
In an interview set to displease some retailers, the Prime Minister said that he would support efforts to stop stores selling alcohol as a loss leader.
Cameron said: “I think if what you’re trying to do is stop supermarkets from selling 20 tins of Stella for a fiver that’s what we’ve got to go after.
“Where I want to try and help is ending the deep discounting on alcohol; people going and ‘pre-loading’, having brought from a supermarket where they were attracted by a price designed to bring them into the store.”
Responding to proposals by ten local councils in and around the Greater Manchester area to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol in its area, Cameron told the Manchester Evening News he preferred local legislation to a nationally imposed limit.
Any bylaw introduced by a local authority would need to be signed off by the Home Secretary before passing into law.
Cameron continued: “I think the idea of the councils coming together on this is a good one and we will certainly look at it very sympathetically.
“Where there can be local decisions we are very happy for that to happen.”
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, previously came out against minimum price levels due to fears it would disproportionately affect low-income families.
Although several supermarkets have supported a minimum price limit, the British Retail Consortium has previously questioned the connection between price of alcohol and binge drinking.
Last month Stephen Robertson, Director General of the BRC, commented: “Any statutory controls imposed by the government should not be overly bureaucratic or impinge on the vast majority of consumers who do, of course, drink responsibly.”