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Gildernew welcomes ASDA no below price alcohol policy

3 August, 2010

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has welcomed Asda's decision not to continue offering below cost price alcohol and has encouraged all other supermarkets to follow their lead in an effort to reduce anti-social behaviour and to reduce the damage alcohol is doing to society.

Ms Gildernew said:
"There are a number of concerns regarding efforts to reduce the negative effects alcohol abuse has on our communities. One of the major factors was the sale of alcohol at cuts prices through supermarket outlets.

"Alcohol has never before been more readily available and cheaper than today and numerous supermarkets slashing prices has helped lead to this phenomena.

"The major supermarkets can offer reduced prices on drinks regardless of high taxation on alcohol as this cost can be absorbed by the sheer size of the supermarkets and the countless other products they offer.

"At the moment young people have to pay around £9 to go to the cinema when you include popcorn and a drink. This would buy them 40 cans of beer or over eight litres of cider. Is this the message we should be sending out?

"In essence, many supermarkets can afford to make a loss on alcohol to get people thorough their doors. This is not a responsible attitude and it is not the supermarket that is left to pick up the pieces. Society is in its current state partly as a result of these irresponsible actions and the unacceptable levels of anti-social behaviour can somewhat be attributed to the abuse of alcohol.

"What we need to see is either co-operation from all of the supermarkets or the enforcement of a minimum price strategy. This would effectively place a bar on how low drink can be sold for putting alcohol out of the reach of many young people who are accessing cheap drink.

"I welcome this initial step from Asda, but I feel there is a lot more work needed to be done on this before we get to a place where the supermarkets selling alcohol are as responsible as they should be ."

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