A new alcohol strategy has been set up in England and Wales to tackle binge drinking, with plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol; banning the sale of multi-buy discount deals; and improved powers to stop serving alcohol to drunks.
For a look at the currently levels of drinking and what the Government Alcohol Strategy: Choice, Challenge and Responsibility will do to prices of alcohol, check out the infographics in the pdf.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.
“My message is simple. We can't go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now.
“So we’re going to attack it from every angle. More powers for pubs to stop serving alcohol to people who are already drunk. More powers for hospitals not just to tackle the drunks turning up in A&E – but also the problem clubs that send them there night after night. And a real effort to get to grips with the root cause of the problem. And that means coming down hard on cheap alcohol.
“When beer is cheaper than water, it’s just too easy for people to get drunk on cheap alcohol at home before they even set foot in the pub. So we are going to introduce a new minimum unit price - so for the first time it will be illegal for shops to sell alcohol for less than this set price per unit. We’re consulting on the actual price, but if it is 40p that could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 9,000 fewer alcohol related deaths over the next decade.
“And let’s be clear. This will not hurt pubs. A pint is two units. If the minimum price is 40p a unit, it won’t affect the price of a pint. In fact, pubs may benefit by making the cheap alternatives in supermarkets more expensive.”
Henry Ashworth, Portman Group chief executive, said: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition that this strategy should not penalise responsible drinkers or unfairly burden businesses that are helping Government tackle alcohol misuse through the responsibility deal partnership – every effort must be made to ensure that these proposals do not undermine the good progress that is being made.”