Minimum unit pricing in Wales should be set at 50p, says ACS

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The minimum unit price for alcohol in Wales should be set at 50p in line with existing legislation in Scotland, according to the Association of Convenience Stores.

In its submission to the Welsh government’s consultation on minimum unit pricing in Wales, the ACS said parity with Scotland would reduce the burden for retailers across the UK.

Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is set to come into effect in Wales in summer 2019.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The introduction of minimum unit pricing will have a range of implications for convenience retailers, not just on changes to pricing systems but also staff training, amendments to existing promotions, and the use of vouchers, so it’s important that the Welsh government does everything it can to minimise disruption for retailers.

“For those operating across the UK, setting a minimum price in line with that already in place in Scotland is preferable.”

The ACS’ submission also raised concerns about the enforcement of MUP in Wales. Unlike Scotland, which introduced MUP as a mandatory licensing condition, retailers in Wales will be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice if they do not comply. This means that local authorities have a financial incentive to take harsher enforcement action as they are allowed to retain the money collected by Fixed Penalty Notices.

Lowman added: “We would welcome further clarification on the Welsh government’s plans for enforcement of minimum unit pricing and urge local authorities to take a fair and education-led approach on enforcement.”

The ACS will be developing guidance for convenience retailers on how to comply with the regulations ahead of implementation.

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