Ministers discuss setting minimum alcohol prices

A MINIMUM price for alcohol that would end supermarket discounts has been discussed by ministers in the run-up to a new government Alcohol Policy that will go to the States next year.


A MINIMUM price for alcohol that would end supermarket discounts has been discussed by ministers in the run-up to a new government Alcohol Policy that will go to the States next year.

Following yesterday's news about a proposal for minimum pricing of alcohol units in the UK to help curb binge-drinking and level the playing field between on- and off-licences, the Public Health department has confirmed that there have been talks about a similar move here.

Under the UK proposals, the minimum price would be set at 45p per unit, raising the minimum price for a can of beer to about £1.12, and for a bottle of wine to £4.40.

But Jersey's Public Health department head of health improvement Andrew Heaven said that it was not clear what shape proposals for a new Alcohol Policy would take when they went out to consultation early next year, or if a recommendation on minimum pricing would be included.

'What the Public Health department has said historically is that price is an important part of any policy which looks at reducing the consumption, and therefore the harm produced by alcohol,' said Mr Heaven.

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Comments for: "Ministers discuss setting minimum alcohol prices"


Ridiculous. Just because the UK are doing it doesn't mean it should be done here. Here's a novel idea for levelling the playing field between pubs and off-licenses - lower the prices in the pubs!! Why is the higher price automatically seen as correct and everything else must be raised to it, instead of the other way around.


so if you get a box of wine that contains 6 bottles it will cost £25.20

oh hell .

Giles K

I live in Ireland now and left Jersey a year ago, they have the same plans here but not sure if it will go through. Although drinking is expensive here, you do get better offers at supermarkets here compared to Jersey. I'm not really bothered though as I buy my beer & wine in Germany (so much cheaper) and visit friends. Your allowed to bring 110 litres beer and 90 litres wine for personal use (going with partner 220 l & 180 l). A crate of quality beer 20 x 0,5 l is just € 9,99.

home brew

Are you trying to make me jealous?


Monkey see monkey do. The jokers in the States don't have an original thought between them.

Is that the sound of civil liberties being crushed some more that I hear?

Mark G

what is not been reported is where the extra money goes? does the manurfactor make the extra money? does the wholesaler make the extra money? does the retailer make the extra money? or is it another hidden tax rise that the States benefit from?

norman conquest

Not going to affect prices over here anyway. The supermarkets charge way more than that.

Richard - St. Helier

Jersey, like the UK, has an alcohol problem and the impact upon our health services, policing and wider society is unpleasant and costly. While I don't deny there are other more complex reasons as to why people drink heavily, which equally need tackling, setting a minimum alcohol price is, in my view, a strong and reasonable measure to begin tempering behaviour.


I agree about the alcohol problem, but you do realise that young people like going out at the weekend to get drunk and generally mess about? It's what I did when I was young and what people will continue to do unless attitudes towards alcohol change in the coming generations. This price rise, and lets not call it anything else, will not stop young people drinking because most young people would rather go out on Friday/Saturday night and get drunk than eat well during the week. An extra few pence on a can of beer won't change this. Plus, as was highlighted in various UK news reports, most of the 'alcho-pops' cost more than the minimum price per unit anyway, so won't be affected by this.

95% of drinkers do so responsibly and without causing problems yet these people will foot the bill for those that don't, and that's not right or fair.

It's the principal of this that bothers me more than anything as I don't drink much. If it goes through, what's to stop them putting a minimum price on unhealthy foods?

C Le Verdic

So the world has to revolve around what young people like doing?

Sooner or later most of them grow up and learn sense. Then is the time for them to have input to decision making.

However, it appears that the mature decisision makers at the moment have an interest in raising prices more than in reducing the binge drinking culture.

Could it be that they really want to keep selling the same amount or more but for higher prices, with related tax revenue increases, whilst hoping that there will be a slim chance that drunken misbehaviour will reduce.

C Le Verdic

Think of all the extra GST takings!

That's really why the UK is hoping to go down this path, if they can fool enough people. Both the UK and Jersey know damned well that this is not the cure for binge drinking.

Guess what? When they 'discover' that this wasn't the cure after all, does anyone believe that they will say "We got it wrong, we will change the rules back again". No chance.

It's not a lot different from pretending to be saving the planet by taxation at the same time as actively encouraging population growth to create more consumers and, by extension, taxpayers. We are supposed to think they are 'green' whilst they know that we are green (as grass).

Not sure what will cure binge drinking but possibly aggressive health education, even more aggressive policing and making less of a gaga about Friday and Saturday nights would help. Will it become less of a problem when we all eventually move to a seven day week?


This is yet another squeezing of low-middle Jersey, as the average joe will pay a lot more for a few beers or a bottle of cheapish wine at the end of the week. Whereas the rich who can afford champagne, higher priced wines and spirits will see no increase at all. We are told that this is to curb binge drinking and cut down on unruly behaviour, So we can assume that the upper classes have no alcoholics or people who turn into Mike Tyson when the've had a few then?


I don't care about alcohol personally, it makes me feel sick. I want CANNABIS legalised! ...They're doing it in America now and a few other countries... are we really going to stay behind fearing the stigma attached to it because of one or two irresponsible folk who have ruined their lives? (Same happens with Alcohol and that stuff KILLS which Cannabis NEVER has, it's even beneficial).

The Thinker

Your first line tells us many things - I don’t care about alcohol personally. This debate, such as it is, concerns our society and how we look after and protect people (even from themselves).

There is a massive problem with the drug alcohol which needs to be addressed. Many people, particularly with vested interests, can find many excuses not to do anything. However the fact is that the abuse of alcohol costs our society very dearly and we need to find a way of curbing the excess.

I heard a quote the other day in the media from an alcoholic (who had been dry for a while) essentially he said that higher prices would not have stopped him from being an alcoholic - however higher prices may have prevented him from becoming an alcoholic in the first place.

There are many many reasons as to why we have such a problem when it comes to alcohol and certainly if we look over the water some of those problems are very cultural in their nature not least the belief that you can't enjoy yourself in a social setting without alcohol.

However reflecting on your submission - you are wrong in stating that America is legalising cannabis. Two States voted to legalise small amounts of the weed for recreational use. However due to the make up of the States they do not have the power to over turn Federal Law even in their own area. What is happening in the US is that more and more questions are being asked about why the use cannabis is illegal and if this position should be concerned in light of a range of changing factors including the economy. They are however a very long way off from legalisation. As regards other places around the world - yes there are a broad range of different policies being adopted.

Finally Cannabis is not without its dangers and very significant ones too, particularly with regard to mental health. And when you say it has never killed anyone that's a interesting statement, in that over the last five years there have been a number of murders where the assailant has been high on cannabis when they committed the crime.

However, you are right in bringing up the subject though because any rise in prices of 'legal drugs' will undoubtedly have a knock on effect for those seeking to get intoxicated for the least amount of cost.


Sorry Thinker but I've only ever met friendly people who smoke cannabis, I don't smoke myself and just drink occasionally. What's the point of raising alcohol prices, people will just start making their own drinks and it could do more harm. Why don't we set a minimum price on pizza, cheese, burgers, because eating a lot of it could lead to obesity or heart conditions. Set a minimum price on cars and motorbikes, because it keeps people from walking. Clothing shouldn't be allowed to be sold this cheap, it could lead to a shopping addiction:-)

Yawn again

Anyone who has had the misfortune to have been cornered at a party by an obsessive cannabis advocate will realise that the drug can adversely affect users just as much as alcohol can. Friendliness won't always make up for being a crashing bore with a one track mind, probably turned that way by addiction to the weed or the chemicals in the weed itself.


I read that one man in Scotland who started off on cannabis and eventually ended up on heroin, has murdered his grandmother because she would not give him money for his next fix. I know he didn't do it while on cannabis, he'd left that far behind, but cannabis started him off down the slippery slope.


Big mistake beliving everything you read only a fool would do that


I don't believe everything I read. However where the facts are indisputable, I'm rather inclined to believe.

C Le Verdic

A lot of belief systems are based on writings, Evelyn!


It's easy to say though, look how many people just murdered without being high........


I presume that excuses the man's actions then! So, by your logic, the reasons for a murder are unimportant.


Not unimportant but give us figures before blaming people who smoke cannabis. You could also say that Jersey has one of the highest murder rates per 100,000 inhabitants (2011), so not a safe place at all.

I Pasdenom


"I read that one man in Scotland who started off on cannabis and eventually ended up on heroin..."

"...where the facts are indisputable..."

Where a person causes death due to dangerous driving, would you therefore agree that allowing them a licence to drive safely was the 'gateway' to their dangerous driving? Despite many other safe drivers never going on to kill?

Surely, by your 'indisputable' logic, licencing safe driving should not be allowed?!

The FACT is we're not all the same.