A minister has said the Government is “committed to ending the sale of heavily discounted alcohol”, and the issue of pricing and the “irresponsible sale of alcohol” will be addressed in the forthcoming alcohol strategy. Health minister Earl Howe’s comments will be taken by some as a hint that minimum pricing of alcohol could be among the proposals in the alcohol strategy, which is expected later this year. In response to questions in the House of Lords yesterday, Howe said: “We recognise that the irresponsible sale of alcohol at a loss to gain wider trade can lead to binge drinking. That is clearly undesirable for all sorts of reasons. “We are committed to ending the sale of heavily discounted alcohol, and that will send a message to retailers and, indeed, the public that we take the issue very seriously.” Howe said “rules and regulations” were not the only way to deal with alcohol misuse, and price is “not the only factor that affects demand for alcohol”. However, pricing will be included in the strategy. “We need to look at licensing, pricing, health promotion, the criminal justice system, the role of local authorities, early engagement by the NHS and labelling, and the list goes on.” David Cameron is reportedly examining how to introduce the measure in England, and any plans are expected to be included in the alcohol strategy. It follows criticism that the proposed ban on sales of alcohol below VAT and duty is insufficient to curb the cheapest deals in supermarkets. A Department of Health spokesman said the strategy will be released later this year.