The European Commission has sent a nine-page legal opinion to the British Government warning that minimum prices are illegal – and that the Treasury should increase duty on alcoholic drinks if it wishes to raise the price.One wonders, as this was so obvious, why politicians kept banging on about it when they knew it was illegal? All it does is show up their own impotence:
The legal opinion states that setting a minimum price is illegal under laws governing the free movement of goods.Thirteen European countries, including major wine producers such as France and Italy, are understood to be preparing to take the British government to court to stop the imposition of a minimum price.
However, ministers appear to have decided to defy the legal warning and yesterday unveiled proposals to introduce a 45p minimum price for each unit of alcohol.Why bother? They will lose...there's enough precedents by the ECJ to show this to be the case. Perhaps this will be one of mythical powers Cameron will claim that he will try to claw back.