Pub bodies have reacted cooly to the government’s plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, saying it will do little to curb the supply of cheap supermarket booze. The Home Office has announced a ban on below cost selling of alcohol, defining below cost as duty plus VAT. Under the new rules it means a can of larger (440ml) can’t be sold for less than 38p while a bottle of wine most cost at least £2.03. A one-litre bottle of cider will cost consumers at least 40p. James Brokenshire, minister for crime prevention, described the action as a first step in the government's ambitions to tackle binge drinking. He added: “We know that pricing controls can help reduce alcohol-related violent crime and this is a crucial step in tackling the availability of cheap alcohol. “In nearly half of all violent incidents the offender is believed to be under the influence of alcohol. That’s why we believe it is right to tackle the worst instances of deep discounting. “By introducing this new measure we are sending a clear message that the government will not stand by and let drink be sold so cheaply that it leads to a greater risk of health harms or drunken violence.” However, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) expressed regret at the government's failure to ban the sale of alcohol below cost. CAMRA’s Mike Benner said: "Today's decision means pubs will continue to close as they are undercut by supermarkets selling canned beers at pocket money prices. A ban on selling beer at below duty plus VAT will have a negligible impact as supermarkets sell only a tiny proportion of beer at below these levels." "CAMRA believes a floor price of around 40p a unit would be required to prevent supermarkets selling alcohol at a loss. The government's decision to set a floor price of only 21p a unit is a betrayal of their previous promise to ban the sale of alcohol at below cost and means supermarkets will continue to be able to sell alcohol as a loss leader." "It is a blow to pub goers that with pub prices approaching £3 a pint the government have decided to give the green light to the supermarkets to charge as little as 47p a pint." "The government appear all too ready to impose higher costs and regulations on well-run community pubs but are prepared to turn a blind eye to the irresponsible attitude towards alcohol expressed by the supermarkets." CAMRA said that the government’s below cost interpretation took no account of production or distribution costs, which would push the minimum price of a pint of beer in the off-trade to around 90p. Brigid Simmonds, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive, said: “This is a clear measure that can be implemented quickly and will stamp out the worst cases of below-cost selling. However, it will not have a significant impact on low-priced alcohol in supermarkets. With 70% of alcohol now sold in the off-trade, there is a real need for the government to do more to support the pub. “The chancellor's March budget gives the government a real opportunity to support pubs in these tough economic times - by freezing beer duty. This will protect 10,500 jobs, whilst giving a real boost to an integral part of British communities up and down the country.”