No decision on alcohol pricing

Person drinking from a bottleA decision over introducing minimum alcohol pricing may never be taken, the public health minister has indicated.

Anna Soubry said the Government was yet to decide if it would introduce a 45p minimum unit price and possibly never would.
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Reports emerged last month that the controversial plans had been ditched amid claims David Cameron had run into fierce opposition from Cabinet colleagues, including Home Secretary Theresa May.

The Prime Minister insists the Government is considering the outcome of a consultation and wants to act to curb cheap drink.

Ms Soubry told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "On alcohol, I don't think we have actually made a decision yet and there are good arguments both in favour of it and against it. I was not convinced. I have been convinced because I met a whole load of liver specialists and doctors and they persuaded me it was a good idea."

Asked if she had convinced Mr Cameron, she replied: "Oh yeah."

Asked when there would be a decision on alcohol pricing she said: "I don't know."

When presenter John Humphrys said: "In other words we may not?", she replied: "We may not."

Downing Street insisted the position had not changed, and the Government was considering the results of a consultation on the issue.

Pressed on whether Mr Cameron still supported minimum pricing, a spokesman said: "The Prime Minister's view is on the record on this."
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