PUBLICANS have attacked the government over its u-turn on alcohol pricing and fear worse news could come in today’s Budget.
Prime Minister David Cameron has changed his mind on proposals to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol sold in supermarkts and high street stores.
Supporters believe the move would have created a more level playing field for pubs struggling to survive against cheaper competition.
Michelle Proctor, landlady of The Red Lion in Wrexham Street, Mold, said: “The government had a chance to help us out.
“Now it is difficult to see what help the government will give us.
“The u-turn will affect trade further and the Budget announcement could increase prices again.
“People just haven’t got the money to drink in pubs when alcohol is sold so cheaply in supermarkets.”
Linda Banks, who runs the Horse and Jockey pub on Church Road, Buckley, with husband Paul, said: “I think the u-turn is pathetic – it doesn’t help pubs one bit.
“It could have created a more level playing field and with the Budget we will probably get hammered again.”
A 45 pence per unit minimum price would have seen shops and supermarkets forced to sell a 440ml can of 7.9 per cent lager at no less than £1.56 and a similar sized can of 8.4 per cent cider for £1.66.
Research found it is currently possible to buy a can of lesser strength lager for as little as 20p and a two litre bottle of cider for £1.69.
Under the proposals a four per cent ‘alcopop’ would have cost at least £1.26, putting an end to £1-a-bottle offers.
Bob Parry, landlord at The Mill Tavern on Northop Road, Flint, said: “These prices are absolutely killing the pub trade and I don’t know what the answer is.
“The breweries have just increased the prices and no doubt the budget will too.
“The amount of pubs closing every day is staggering but our hands are tied.
“You can't blame people for buying from the supermarket and drinking at home with those prices.”
He added: “The smoking ban hit us hard enough and there was a gaming tax introduced in February, so we are really feeling the squeeze.”