Call for UK-wide 50p per unit price

 
Woman drinking wine Scotland looks set to have a different minimum price for alcohol to England and Wales

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There should be a pan-UK strategy to combat problem drinking - including a 50p minimum price for a unit of alcohol, health campaigners say.

The call by a coalition of 70 health groups and campaigners comes as different approaches are being pursued in the UK.

Their report also called for a ban on advertising and tough rules on sales.

Industry said measures should target people who needed help, not everyone who enjoyed a drink.

Devolution has meant different strategies have been developing to tackle rising rates of problem drinking.

In Scotland a 50p price is set to be introduced, while a 45p threshold has been proposed for England and Wales.

Northern Ireland is yet to put forward a specific proposal, although it is reviewing pricing.

Slightly different licensing regimes exist as well.

Start Quote

What we need are targeted solutions focused on those individuals and local areas which require the most help.”

End Quote Henry Ashworth Portman Group
Blueprint

But the report, produced by Stirling University experts with the backing of a host of royal colleges, health charities and medical groups, said this fragmented approach had to end.

Research has suggested a 50p minimum price would reduce consumption by 6.7% which after 10 years would mean there were 3,000 fewer alcohol deaths and 100,000 fewer hospital admissions.

As well as proposing a minimum price, it also said alcohol-related advertising and sponsorship should end and a third of the space of labels should be taken up by health warnings.

Licensing rules should also be standardised, while the drink-drive limit should be lowered, it said.

But perhaps the most radical suggestion was the idea that there should be restrictions on where and when alcohol could be sold.

Graph

The report did not put forward specific proposals, but the Stirling team said this could include a ban on sales after certain times in the evening and separate tills in supermarkets for alcohol.

The report, dubbed an independent alcohol strategy for the UK, also highlighted the toll of excessive drinking.

Alcohol consumption has risen by 40% in the past 40 years with a quarter of men and 17% of women drinking more than is good for them.

Alcohol related deaths now stand at nearly 9,000 a year - more than double the figure in the early 1990s.

Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said it was essential the UK governments worked together on the issue.

"The report provides a blueprint for action now and in the future."

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, which has also put its name to the report, added: "We must all do something now to start to tackle this avoidable epidemic."

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, which represents the UK's leading drinks producers, said the vast majority of people drink within recommended guidelines.

"What we need are targeted solutions focused on those individuals and local areas which require the most help, not nationwide marketing bans which are proven to be ineffective in reducing alcohol misuse.

"The UK drinks industry has voluntarily introduced a wide range of measures to encourage responsible drinking including health information on labels, an independent complaints process and strict codes of practice which ensure alcohol is marketed responsibly - we must focus on finding local solutions to tackle specific alcohol-related problems, not penalising those who are drinking sensibly."

Drink prices under a 50p minimum (Images: Thinkstock)
 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 692.

    63. WhyMe44 - false choice and you know it. Nobody's suggesting the BBC should be abolished. The comment you responded to clearly stated that the LICENSE FEE should go. The BBC should be a privately-funded commercial channel if it wants to spew this sort of propaganda at the masses. I'm sick of being intimidated into paying a license fee to be told things I know are wrong and inherently biased.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 691.

    The govt. are taxing it because they think alcohol is bad for us and they want to discourage us from buying it. If we remove the smoke and screens isnt that essentually making your people do what you see is "best" for them and make them conform to a certain behavoir? I'm pretty sure i've seen this somewhere before....sometime in the late 1930s/early 1940's....and china....and north korea?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 690.

    Another idiotic attempt at social engineering through fixing markets.

    Like all such efforts it will fail in its primary aim and will simply result in unintended consequences, for example encourage a black-market of cheap alcohol run by criminal gangs.

    If people are daft enough to want to drink themselves to death, let them go ahead.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 689.

    I gave up drinking completely, and now I'm immortal. Yay!
    Also, my mind-numbingly dull life and work have now become completely tolerable.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 688.

    Why is the answer to everything seem to be me more "tax"?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 687.

    IT WILL NOT WORK...alcoholics and people that binge will still find the money from somewhere to feed their habbits, and the rest of us will just end up paying yet more in tax.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 686.

    I despair that whatever the problem the cry goes up that the Government must do something about it. Other postings have pointed out that drink is much cheaper elsewhere without the drunkeness and it seems that for the British it is a cultural thing. Where drunks harm other people then the police should arrest them. Beyond that people should be responsible for their own lives and health.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 685.

    It is obviously time for all drinkers to be told by government what to drink; what to eat; how to raise children. How long will it be before we are told when we can breathe?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 684.

    Strangers telling people what they should do through Laws, Pricing, Education, Campaigns just doesn't work and can have the opposite effect.

    Brothers, Sisters, Parents, Uncles, Aunties, Friends, Kids, Partners telling someone they are being an idiot should be the norm and might make a difference.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 683.

    @677 not if you're a woman :-)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 682.

    "If they introduced ID cards as here in France..."

    If you look even slightly underage here in the UK you are asked for proper ID of some sort, passport drivers licence etc (and if you don't have those then most shops have ID card applications on the counter to get one). The problem here is that we love our booze, and the tax man knows it and ramps it up for any reason he can. All about the money.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 681.

    this will result in more and more people to make there own...as happens in poor countrys..even in saudi the work camps home made hooch is readily available,,,wont take long before the estates etc start this big time

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 680.

    651.alexicon
    I reveal your hypocrisy and poor reasoning @654.
    As for my ideology, it comes from an older and wiser time than ours, think John Locke.

    Where does your ideology come from? TV, a napkin, what you read in tabloids?
    Pfft, you have no ideology beyond your gut instinct. So do lower primates.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 679.

    Its per year. good point wiseoldbob i believe that government should be there to protect the people and be focused to allow people to live how they want to with minimal interference, less public spending, less tax and less rules that try and nanny people.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 678.

    If they introduced ID cads as here in France then under age drinking would end in one stroke. This idea will harm the majority so it is no brainer to reject - or do we ban cars that can do more than 70mph etc?
    Here in France alcohol is much cheaper than the uk but the majority have no problem. Most of my friends here only drink a wine at dinner and the odd eau de vie.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 677.

    Interesting that 10 litres per head is the average consumption. Which equates to about 2.75 units a day. Which is within the UK's cautious safe recommended limits. It's a minority that is harming themselves and their families through drinking too much. Tackle that. Increasing the price will probably only do more damage to problem drinkers and their families without solving the problem.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 676.

    These comments make me laugh. Lazy argument making at its best!! The principles of supply and demand hold true for alcohol as with anything else. Saying "people will still drink anyway" in the hope of 'rubbishing' the argument in the hope that you can still enjoy cheap drink won't work. It may be true in special cases (alcoholics) but not generally. Try again.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 675.

    Baby Laughter to be Taxed

    Due to the alarming decline in children's laughter, the government has stepped in to ensure that the infantile joy does not run out.

    'A tax on baby laughter will ensure that babies do not abuse the ability to laugh, therefore draining the nation of this precious resource' said gov. spokesman Phil D Pockets MP.

    The decline of kids laughter is a continuing trend...

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 674.

    We were recently told that the level of pensioners drinking too much alcohol is much higher than many expected.

    I think that minimum pricing would go a long way to cutting down their drinking. Surely a good thing??

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 673.

    As far as binge drinking & violence are concerned, the answer is so simple but will never happen. Legalise and make readily available Ecstasy, Amphetamine & LSD. These drugs make you happy, friendly and empathetic, generally speaking. Football & other violence dropped dramatically during the Rave era, because of the use of these drugs. & they don't damage your health like Alcohol.

 

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