Retailers will be prohibited from offering multi-buy discount deals on alcohol under government proposals to introduce a minimum price of 40p per unit.

Supermarkets will be particularly hit in a move made to stamp out binge drinking. Grocers often discount alcohol to drive footfall into stores.

The proposal would in particular hit drinks such as ciders, lagers and cheap spirits.

The BBC calculated that a cheap, strong lager at 75p a can – containing three units - would become at least £1.20.

Government is considering banning buy-one-get-one-free deals but may still allow half-price promotions.

British Retail Consortium’s Andrew Opie said the proposal was “seriously misguided”.

“It’s simplistic to imagine a minimum price is some sort of silver bullet solution to irresponsible drinking.

“Irresponsible drinking has cultural causes and retailers have been hugely engaged in information and education to change attitudes to drinking.

“It’s a myth to suggest that supermarkets are the problem or that a pub is somehow a safer drinking environment. Effectively, a minimum price is a tax on responsible drinkers.”