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alcohol health alliance uk

The British Government needs to demonstrate the strong leadership and clear intent of its Scottish counterpart.

If the Government is serious about calling time on alcohol misuse, this means introducing a minimum pricing bill on alcohol.

In the North East of England we have a huge problem with alcohol. More than half of violent crime is alcohol related and we have the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in the country.

We face these problems because too many people are consuming too much alcohol. Research shows that as price has decreased, consumption has increased – the average person is drinking more than 11 litres of pure alcohol a year, more than twice the average consumption in the 1950s.

It is clear that we need more effective solutions. Evidence suggests that the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol is carefully targeted, making alcohol less affordable which reduces consumption, which reduces harm.

If anyone doubts that alcohol is too affordable, I’d encourage them to have a look at The Four Steps to Alcohol Misuse report we issued today.

The report contains a survey of more than 600 alcohol products sold in supermarkets across the North East, revealing cans of lager for as little as 23p, two-litre bottles of cider for £1.34, a shot of vodka for 28p and a unit of alcohol for just 12p. It’s little wonder that a third of North Easterners are drinking above the Government’s recommended limits on a daily or almost daily basis, that one in five binge drinks weekly or that we face the problems we do.

Given the fact that we are consuming alcohol at a similar level to Scotland, we face the same problems in terms of health and crime and disorder and we are certainly selling alcohol as cheaply – shouldn’t we be looking at following Scotland’s example? I’d say so. What’s good enough for Scotland has surely got to be good enough for us.

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