HC Deb 18 December 1997 vol 303 c482
13. Helen Jones

If she will investigate the levels of profits on sales of soft drinks in public houses. [19881]

The Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs (Mr. Nigel Griffiths)

My main concern is about prices. The industry report published on 17 November revealed that consumers buying soft drinks in pubs were getting small measures, bad choice and poor quality. Those who choose non-alcoholic drinks deserve a fairer deal. I am determined to give it to them.

Helen Jones

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is it not plainly ridiculous that consumers are often charged more for non-alcoholic drinks than for alcoholic drinks? When I studied the matter in my area, I found that one pub charged £1.70 for lime and soda but only £1.65 for cider; another charged £1.70 for coke and £1.20 for lager and lime. Not only is that unfair to consumers, but it detracts from the Government's campaign to stop drinking and driving. Does my hon. Friend agree that the practice is not only unfair but dangerous?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes, it certainly does not help. I have left leading representatives of the drinks industry in no doubt about our concern over the prices of soft drinks.