Wales to lead on alcohol cost

Wales is to go ahead with plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing despite the move being omitted from a list of priorities for the UK coalition government.

The UK government has committed to banning the sale of alcohol below cost price. It also said it would review alcohol taxation and pricing. But it has not committed to any plans on minimum alcohol pricing.

A Welsh Assembly government spokeswoman said its health minister, Edwina Hart, would write to the UK government stating its position.

'She will work with the new UK government but if it does not take action soon, she will seek powers for us to act ourselves,' she said. The assembly government's view on the issue has been clear, she pointed out.

'While we are doing all we can on improving education and awareness of the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol misuse, the main levers to make the most change remain with the UK government through the power to legislate on price, licensing and advertising,' she said.

Ms Hart said last month that Wales would act alone in int-roducing minimum pricing if other UK countries did not make progress on the issue.

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