Pubwatch: charge OK

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PUB groups have welcomed the idea of a city-wide minimum alcohol price.

But shops say they’d be unhappy with Portsmouth City Council’s proposals.

The council is observing a plan to introduce a 50p per unit minimum charge to all bars, pubs and shops in Manchester.

If the by-law reduces binge drinking in the north-west city, Portsmouth would consider a 75p per unit lowest cost.

Barry Kewell, president of Albert Road and Southsea Pubwatch, said: ‘We’d be happy with it. As locals, we can’t put on the offers the larger chains do, or compete with shops. It could level the playing field a little.’

The council would be able to pass the by-law using controls it has over licensing in the city.

But a Tesco spokesman said the chain would prefer a national policy: ‘We don’t oppose minimum charges, though we’re not sure what effect it would have. But it would have to be everywhere. Local policies could see shops close to each other with wildly different prices.’