Find us on Facebook

alcohol health alliance uk

Balance responds to University of Stirling report: Health First

Posted 01/03/13

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “Over 70 health organisations and experts across the UK support the Government’s plan for a minimum price per unit – importantly these are people and organisations that have our health and wellbeing at the top of their agenda.

“This needs to be the cornerstone of a wider evidence approach to tackle alcohol misuse in both the North East and across the UK.

“However it needs to go further and needs to be set at an effective level, no lower that 50p per unit – as recommended in the alternative alcohol strategy released today by the University of Stirling. This will allow us to see even more benefits and to reduce the alcohol harms we continue to face on a daily basis.

“We will continue to support Government and minimum unit price as an evidenced-based approach to reduce alcohol harm. It targets the price of the most harmful alcohol and protects vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink cheap alcohol and suffer the consequences. If set at 50p per unit it would only cost a moderate drinker an extra 28p per week.

“There has been a lot of discussion as to whether a minimum unit price works and there has been ‘junk science’ put forward by the alcohol industry to deflect attention from the real benefits of the measure. We must remember that this is an industry which has a legal obligation to put the profits of their shareholders first. Their solution is to toughen existing laws, improve education and invest in partnership schemes at a local level. We know that this alone will not reduce alcohol harm.

“We need to introduce evidence-based measures and minimum pricing is proven to work in real terms. A recent study showed that in British Columbia, Canada, a 10% increase in the average minimum price for all alcoholic drinks was associated with a 32% reduction in alcohol-attributable deaths.

“Minimum price is proven, it’s needed and it’s wanted – particularly by those who put our health first.”