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Pub groups call for action over supermarket alcohol pricing
Three of the UK’s largest pub operators have written to the Scottish Government demanding it take action against supermarket cut-price drinks promotions, to match the example set by pubs and clubs.
Mitchells & Butlers, G1 Group and Punch said there should be a level playing field in the licensed trade, but that Government policy and low supermarket prices had led to a situation where 70% of all alcohol was now purchased in supermarkets.
The pub groups said minimum pricing alone was not enough to combat problems to do with alcohol, and called on the Scottish Government to “implement as quickly as possible measures to raise supermarkets to the higher standards of social responsibility in alcohol retailing which are already, rightly, expected of pubs, for the benefit of both the Scottish economy and society”.
The three chains account for about 10% of the Scottish pub industry, and employ about 4,000 people across the country.
They argue that while the debate has tended to focus on the controversy over minimum pricing, another important consideration should be that drinkers in pubs and clubs are supervised by bar staff, whereas at home or on the streets there are no controls to curb anti-social behaviour or problem drinking.