Government to introduce minimum price for alcohol

Is this the end of the binge-drinking era, as the new Lib-Con Government propose raising the price of cheap alcohol

Summer might simply mean a cool glass of Chablis to some, but for many subscribers of ‘Booze Britain’ it’s more likely to be several large cans of cheap cider followed by a hazy night on the town.

Government advisors have made recommendations to impose a minimum price on alcohol, in order to deal with the hangover left from years of marketing cheap alcohol and 24-hour licensing to Britain.

They have also recommended a blanket ban on alcohol advertising, an industry worth £800 million a year, as it encourages irresponsible drinking.

Under the new proposals, the cost of a bottle of wine would could rise to at least £4.50, a four pack or beer to £1.14, and a two litre bottle of cider to at least £7.50.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are also calling to make alcohol less easily available, by reducing the amount that can be imported and cutting the number of outlets selling it, or even limiting the days and hours in which drink can be purchased.

‘We are convinced that minimum pricing offers a very productive and potentially very effective way of dealing with the major problems associated with alcohol consumption,’ said Professor Mike Kelly, Nice’s public health director.

Research from Sheffield University shows that a minimum price of 50p per unit would cut consumption and therefore cut alcohol related deaths, crimes, and hospital admissions, reducing the economic burden on the state.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley admitted that an ‘urgent change of direction’ was needed to tackle alcohol misuse, just five years after Labour’s 24-hour drinking legislation came into force.

Research from Nice shows that alcohol abuse costs Britain more than £12 billion a year, and one in four Britons regularly drink at unhealthy levels.

So will increasing the price of alcohol cure binge-drinking Britain? Have your say by leaving your comments below.

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