NOffLA Welcomes Health Minister’s Intention To Seek MUP Implementation

By Dave Simpson
NOffLA Welcomes Health Minister’s Intention To Seek MUP Implementation

The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has welcomed minister for health Simon Harris's assertion that he will seek a revised decision from cabinet on the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) this year.

NOffLA stated that recent research from the University of Newcastle, published in the British Medical Journal, has shown that Scottish MUP has been successful in reducing alcohol sales and, by extension, consumption by 7.6% since its enactment, which is more than twice the anticipated effectiveness and, according to NOffLA, shows MUP’s impact as a policy response to dangerous alcohol consumption.

On the one year anniversary of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill’s passage, NOffLA is calling on the government to uphold the ambitions of the bill and ensure MUP is introduced as a matter of priority.

NOffLA said that MUP would also significantly reduce the scale of below cost selling of alcohol in Ireland, and stated that below cost selling results in an annual loss to the exchequer of €24 million through VAT reclaims.

NOffLA said that it believes that the cross-border shopping market is already saturated, given that, according to InterTrade Ireland, the percentage of Irish cars in Northern Irish car parks did not increase between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. The association said that MUP is a targeted measure to combat the sale of ultra-cheap alcohol, which tends not to be the kinds of products bought in cross-border shopping.


Overwhelming Support

NOffLA government affairs director Evelyn Jones commented, "NOffLA has long called for the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Ireland alone. Our members indicate overwhelmingly their support for its implementation in this jurisdiction alone.

"It is now more than 1,000 days since the Stormont Executive sat. Do we have to wait another 1,000 days to bring in MUP in Ireland?

"MUP is also likely to be largely budget-neutral, given that it will significantly reduce the levels of below invoice cost selling, thus denying retailers from VAT reclaims. Most products sold below net invoice cost will be banned, given that this price point will also be below the minimum unit price."

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