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Cameron's cheap booze ban won't work, admits Minister for alcohol and crime prevention
01:48 GMT, 2 December 2012
David Cameron’s plan for a minimum price of 45p a unit for alcohol suffered an embarrassing blow last night when it emerged that the Minister responsible for alcohol and crime prevention thinks it is wrong, unfair and won’t work.
Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne was gagged from speaking out on the issue to avoid revealing the Government split.
But friends of Mr Browne have told The Mail on Sunday that he disputes claims that the policy is certain to cut binge drinking – or reduce the number of pub fights.
Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne was banned from airing his views publicly last week by Home Secretary Theresa May
And he thinks responsible drinkers will also be hit in the pocket.
Mr Browne was banned from airing his views publicly last week by Home Secretary Theresa May.
Instead, his role was given to Tory Police Minister Damian Green, who said the controversial new policy would stop city centres being turned into a ‘vision of hell’ by drunks on Saturday nights.
A source close to Mr Browne said: ‘Jeremy’s view is that the thug who has downed nine cans of lager is hardly going to think, “Oh dear, I can’t afford a tenth because of minimum pricing. I think I’ll go home to bed instead of starting a brawl.” ’
Mr Browne thinks the policy discriminates against the poor.
The 45p-a-unit rule would slap an extra 70p on the price of some bottles of wine and an additional 1.30 on a two-litre bottle of cider
‘Jeremy maintains that the
middle-class woman in Oxfordshire who drinks a 10 bottle of Chablis
every other night will not be affected because it won’t go up in price
and she can afford it anyway,’ said the source.
‘But the working-class woman in Oldham who drinks a cheap bottle of Lambrini will be hit because it will cost more.’
The 45p-a-unit rule would slap an extra 70p on the price of some bottles of wine and an additional 1.30 on a two-litre bottle of cider.
Mr Browne is also said to be unhappy about the decision to consult the public on 45p and no other price level.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘It is Government policy to consult on the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol.’