Booze price bid to cut trouble is ruled illegal
BAR owners who tried to set a minimum price on alcohol have had to scrap the plan after being told it was illegal.
Business owners in Hanley had agreed on a minimum price to try to deter binge drinking in the town centre.
But days after agreeing on a price they were contacted by the Competition Commission to inform them it was an illegal practice.
The agreement was to try to improve the night-time economy of the town by stopping cheap drinks promotions, such as giving away two alcoholic drinks with every one bought and a shot of alcohol with every drink.
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Julie Davies, business crime manager at Stoke-on-Trent Nightlife Partnership said: "Businesses are struggling to survive in these hard economic times and they are going to keep the drinking promotions going to get people through the door.
"However, we had managed to discuss setting a minimum price as an informal agreement between the bar managers.
"It was something that they were all going to sign up to until we received the letter from the commission and we had to scrap it straightaway.
"Within a week the letter had arrived.
"Sometimes you have to look at the much bigger picture."
The group had agreed on a minimum price per unit of alcohol sold to stop the need for drinks promotions.
Issues around binge drinking and violence in Hanley were discussed at a Task and Finish Group meeting this week.
Graeme Drayton, from the Safer City Partnership told how students were trying to highlight the dangers of binge drinking to students in the area.