Friday 28 October 2016

Wine will cost at least €8.80 a bottle if new pricing rules come in


A BOTTLE of wine will cost a minimum of almost €9 if TDs' recommendations on minimum alcohol pricing are adopted.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar announced planned legislation for introducing minimum pricing earlier this year.

The minimum cost of a bottle of wine will be €8.80 and a can of beer at €2.20 if the decision is made to set the minimum cost per unit at the higher end of a proposed scale.

The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children carried out pre-legislative scrutiny on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015.


Deputies, who published their findings this morning, recommend the higher level of the proposed minimum unit pricing (MUP) be implemented.

The Department of Health is understood to be considering MUP structures between 0.60 and 1.10 cent.

"Given that the evidence strongly suggests that a higher MUP offers the best opportunity to reduce harmful drinking and associated social impacts, the committee recommends considering setting the price per unit at the upper end of this range," the report states.

"A review of evidence provided to the committee confirms the importance of setting the MUP at a level high enough to be effective in targeting high-risk drinking behaviour.

Committee chairman Jerry Buttimer introduced the report.

"The committee is supportive of the proposed measures in respect of product labelling, including support for the introduction of health warnings on alcohol products," he wrote.

"Based on the weight of evidence and broad support from health professionals, the committee is also generally supportive of the proposed introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing."

Mr Buttimer said TDs did have some concerns about "implementation issues and the potential impact of MUP on lower-income households".

The report addresses alcohol labelling in its recommendations, stating that "clear health warnings" should be included on drinks "indicating that alcohol causes disease".


"The minister should also consider ensuring that warnings be given prominence with an emphasis on visual, graphic designs for maximum effect," it adds.

It also states that labels should give sufficient information on alcohol content and the size of a standard drink, relating this to maximum weekly consumption.

The report notes that there were "dissenting views by committee members with concerns that measures as envisaged could disproportionately impact on lower-income households".

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