In a letter to the Home Secretary Brighton & Hove City Council is calling for the VAT rate for alcohol sold in supermarkets and off-licences to be higher than pubs & clubs.
The letter, signed by council chief executive John Barradell, licensing committee chair Lizzie Deane and director of public health Tom Scanlon, states that “increased affordability within (shops and supermarkets) is blamed for street drinking, pre-loading and binge drinking”, but that it is “virtually impossible to establish a link between alcohol misuse and specific off-sale retail outlets”.
It added: “As individual outlets cannot be targeted effectively, more general pricing controls are required. We urge you to adopt differential pricing of alcohol as a course of action.”
Councillor Deane said: “A lot of work is going on in Brighton & Hove to enforce licensing regulations and deal with concerns about alcohol, but we cannot control prices in supermarkets and shops that lead people to ‘pre-load’ on cheap alcohol before they go out for the night.
“This is a national issue — it is not unique to Brighton & Hove — which is why we are calling on the Government to increase the VAT on alcohol sold in off-licences, shops and supermarkets, to make it less affordable”.
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Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Deane, Lizzie Cllr
Scanlon, Tom Dr