Since the Government dropped its pledge to introduce minimum pricing, local approaches are being re-kindled in a number of areas. According to the Morning Advertiser, Newcastle City Council have requested all new licensing applications and variations include a voluntary condition not to sell alcohol at below 50 pence per unit. Premises who do not agree and are linked to alcohol-related problems will then have a license review instigated by the council.
Newcastle City Council first introduced the approach last year on two city centre bars awarded a license subject to a minimum price of £1.25 per unit of alcohol. The city's Pubwatch chairman backed the move saying it would be good for pubs whose trade is undermined by "strong alcohol at pocket money prices".
However licensing lawyers have questioned the approach, although Oldham first adopted it in 2009 seemingly without legal repercussions. According to a This is Money report, a spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association said that there were ‘significant competition policy implications for what Newcastle is proposing’ and that it was seeking guidance from the Office of Fair Trading.
Newcastle are also planning to restrict the display areas in off-licenses; a measure in place in Scotland and previously called for by Alcohol Concern.
Meanwhile councils in Greater Manchester are reportedly re-considering a bye-law approach that had received the Prime Minister's backing in 2010.