'Independent evaluation' could let Brits buy wine without per-unit pricing

As Britons throughout the UK continue to buy wine in the future, it could be independent evaluation - and not the actions of the government itself - that allows them to avoid paying a minimum price per unit.

Minimum unit pricing has been suggested for some time as a way to combat binge drinking and alcoholism, by ensuring retailers cannot offer certain high-alcohol products too cheaply.

But for those who buy wine in more affluent areas, such as Hale, Sale and Alderley Edge, their chances of going on a drunken rampage may be much lower than for drinkers buying high-strength cider, lager and spirits in the city centre.

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association has warned that government plans for minimum unit pricing do not include any full and clear assessments of the best price threshold at which to set the limit.

Instead, the latest report made by the Health Select Committee seems to generally support the proposals simply as a way of cutting the number of units of alcohol sold in all circumstances, regardless of the risks of antisocial behaviour.

"We welcome the committee's recommendation that activity in this area should be subject to independent evaluation," says WSTA chief executive Miles Beale, who adds that the industry is already making good progress towards reducing alcohol consumption through voluntary measures.

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