Back in 2010, the Conservative's manifesto set out the so called 'below cost ban', as well as pledges to 'overhaul' the licensing regime. The Liberal Democrats 2010 manifesto also set out support for a below-cost ban, as well as in principle support for minimum unit pricing. Labour didn't rule out minimum pricing, but their 2010 manifesto focused on support for pubs and treatment for offenders.
Five years later and alcohol policy seems much less of a feature for the two main parties. However health groups may see this as good news; with minimum pricing hardly a vote winner, early in the parliamentary term is when less popular policies may be more likely to be implemented. Scotland's long running MUP battle is however still being dragged through the European courts, so any other Government is unlikely to attempt it before the verdict. Least of all the Tories one would assume, given their infamous minimum pricing u-turn.
Still, alcohol and related policy does get some mention in the main 2015 manifestos.
One the one hand the Tories could be claiming they've followed through on their 2010 commitments - in alcohol policy terms. However little is mentioned in the 2015 version, other than a commitment to "make sobriety orders available to all courts in England and Wales, enforced through new alcohol monitoring tags". Perhaps a popular 'tough on crime' message, but evaluation of the pilot schemes has not concluded. Not much else in the manifesto itself, though it commits to addressing alcohol dependency as one of the the 'root causes of poverty'.
However the Morning Advertiser (MA) have reported that the Tories have pledged licensing fees for the majority of pubs would be frozen and reviewing business rates to support small firms. Trade reaction expectedly supportive, but wanting more clarity on the fees promise.
The party manifesto itself gives just one specific alcohol policy mention - to "take targeted action on those high strength, low cost alcohol products that fuel problem drinking". Sounds rather like an excerpt from the 2012 alcohol strategy, but without the detail of how. Would it be a tweaking of the near meaningless below cost ban, re-instating alcohol duty escalators, or joining up with the SNP in the minimum pricing fight?
Again outside of manifesto pledges, the MA highlights Labour's £8 minimum wage promise would of course be highly relevant to many working in the alcohol trade.
The Liberal Democrats however have committed to "introduce Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol, subject to the outcome of the legal challenge in Scotland", as well as further powers for local authorities and more work promoting healthier lifestyles. The MA also highlights laws to help prevent pubs being converted for other uses.
The Green Party has also spoken in support of minimum pricing, as well as an 'unhealthy food tax', and Plaid Cymru also support a 50 pence MUP. UKIP opposes minimum pricing, but has called for the introduction of pub smoking rooms.
Last year an All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse (APPG) manifesto was released, urging political parties to adopt ten key alcohol policies ahead of the 2015 election.