Retailers call for minimum unit pricing on alcohol in Northern Ireland

Retailers call for minimum unit pricing on alcohol in Northern Ireland

Independent retailers on both sides of the Irish border have confirmed their support for the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Northern Ireland.

Leaders of the Fed (Federation of Independent Retailers) say MUP in the Province would create a “level playing field” and allay fears of cross-border trading.

The move follows the recent publication of a paper by the Department of Finance Tax Strategy Group on tax excise. The report warned the Irish government that the introduction of MUP in the Republic in January 2022 could ultimately lead to less tax being paid due to people shopping across the border.

Stormont opened consultation on the introduction of MUP earlier this year, and the Fed responded by confirming it was strongly in favour of the move.

The Fed’s Republic of Ireland president Martin Mulligan said: “It’s certainly a good thing and would make things equal for retailers on either side of the border. It would be particularly good for those retailers whose stores are on or close to the border.”

Joe Archibald, the Fed’s president for Northern Ireland, added: “One of the main benefits of MUP for smaller retailers with off-licences is the fact that the big multiples and supermarkets will have to charge the same prices, so they will no longer be able to undercut independents by selling cheaper alcohol as loss leaders. This should level things up and give everyone a fair crack of the whip.”