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01/04/2007

UK - One-third of MPs back the motion against supermarket alcohol pricing

The campaign against supermarket pricing is continuing to gain momentum,

On December 13 last year, Labour MP John Grogan tabled an Early Day Motion calling on supermarkets to stop attracting customers with cheap alcohol. The EDM (495) has attracted the signatures of 178 MPs from all three main political parties, making it the 17th-most popular motion out of 1,195 in the House. The EDM suggests that binge-drinking is being fuelled not by pubs but by cheap alcohol sold in supermarkets.

Supermarket drink is now more than 50% cheaper in real terms than it was in 1980. During last year's World Cup, supermarkets sold 24-can packs of beer for less than £10, making it cheaper than bottled water.

Representatives from 4 biggest supermarkets in Britain (Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda and Tesco) will now meet with MPs later this month (18 April) to discuss this issue.

In January the Competition Commission's 'Emerging thinking' document said major retailers were using alcohol as a loss leader to tempt customers from rival stores. If the Commission finds that there is a problem within the grocery sector when it finishes its investigation later this year, it could propose remedies including the publishing of price lists, preventing supermarkets from selling goods at below wholesale prices.

The Commission has said it is not its job to draw conclusions on the social implications of cheap alcohol.