Norwich landlords back cheap booze fight

David BaleNorwich publicans today backed Tesco's support for government plans to introduce minimum prices for alcohol at supermarkets.David Bale

Norwich publicans today backed Tesco's support for government plans to introduce minimum prices for alcohol at supermarkets.

David Cameron's new coalition government vowed this week to ban the sale of alcohol at below cost price.

And Tesco boss Terry Leahy has now pledged his support for any future discussions on a minimum price for alcohol.

Publicans have consistently called for the changes during the Evening News' Love Your Local campaign, which has been urging punters to support pubs or risk losing them for good.

And the sale of cheap booze at supermarkets has consistently been dubbed the main reason why publicans say so many watering holes are closing.

Dave Turnbull, who owns the Blue Boar in Wroxham Road, Sprowston and the Lord Rosebery in Rosebery Road, north Norwich, said: 'I'm really encouraged Tesco will support a minimum price for alcohol. They may sell less alcohol by doing it, but with the extra prices, it could increase their profits.

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'They are already looking to introduce a minimum price in Scotland and it makes so much sense.

'I know I've got a vested interest, but I'm such a big pubs fan, because we make sure people drink in controlled environments.

'Taxi drivers tell me that they pick up kids in Norwich at 11pm and they're already hammered because they've been drinking cheap supermarket booze at home.

'Then you have the people aged 50plus drinking at home, who have one glass of wine, and before they know it, they've drunk a bottle.

'I just think the emphasis needs to go back on pubs and supermarkets should start charging regular prices.'

Steve Fiske, landlord at the Whalebone pub in Magdalen Road, Norwich, also backed the plans.

He said: 'The price of alcohol in supermarkets is ridiculous. You see under-aged people carrying carrier bags filled with cheap alcohol. It would be great to see a minimum price introduced for alcohol in supermarkets, but I will believe it when I see it.'

Mr Leahy said he welcomed the new government's commitment to act on below-cost selling of alcohol. He said: 'Today I pledge that we will support government-led action to make this happen across the UK. We will also support any future discussions on a minimum price for alcohol.'

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Have you got a pubs story for the Evening News' campaign? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email