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"Voluntary" minimum unit pricing introduced in Newcastle

 

Newcastle City Council has introduced a minimum unit price condition for all new licences and applications for licence variation across the on and off-trade.

As part of the council’s new Statement of Licensing Policy report approved in May, business owners applying for new licenses are encouraged to apply a minimum unit price of 50p to all alcohol products sold on their premises.

However, although the condition is voluntary, the local authority warns that “where there is evidence that the licensing objectives are being compromised or are likely to be compromised, the Licensing Authority will consider imposing controls”. This extends to restricting promotional offers on alcohol, including on the sale of super-strength beer, lager and cider.

The local authority has implemented the condition across the 400 licensed premises in the city after testing out the scheme on 2 bars since last September. So far the condition has been applied to 4 bars and 3 off-licences.

According to The Morning Advertiser, Stephen Savage, interim director of investment and development at Newcastle City Council, said the policy is designed to ensure quality in outlets across the city.

“One way of keeping a quality outlet is by having a minimum price. It was done under the agreement of licensed premises and everybody was quite delighted that this was the way forward on negotiation rather than enforcement.”

He also confirmed that the council was still in favour of enforcing a minimum unit price for alcohol across supermarkets and he did not rule out implementing this measure locally in the wake of the Government climbdown over introducing it as part of national legislation in July.

Statement of Licensing Policy: 2013 to 2018 is available to view and download from the Premises Licence section of the Newcastle City Council website.