Alcohol will be cheap this Christmas as supermarkets enter a ferocious price war, drastically cutting booze prices.

Offering low-cost deals on alcohol is an effective way to lure customers into stores. However Tesco’s spirits manager Mark Sudderby said that dropping prices on spirits was not necessary over the festive season, and is, in fact, financially costly for the shops.

“However, we must continue to be competitive and to provide our customers with offers that are not drastically undercut by discount retailers,” he said.

Alcohol prices are now so low that spirits can be bought for less than 40p a shot in some supermarkets.

As much as many punters will be enjoying their cheap booze this festive season, there are also fears that alcohol-related incidents will increase over the period, adding to the workload of NHS and the police.

Don Shenker, chief executive of campaign group Alcohol Concern, said: “Cheap alcohol costs us all – be it the £2.7billion each year on NHS costs or the £7billion spent on policing. We really think supermarkets should be more responsible about the way they price and promote alcohol over the festive period.”

Meanwhile, The Wine and Spirits Trade Association said there was no evidence that cheap alcohol is making people drink more.