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alcohol health alliance uk

Balance response to supermarket Christmas price war

Posted 16/11/10

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Supermarket deep discounting is not new, the big four have been selling alcohol at pocket money prices for years. Earlier this year, we carried out a price survey which revealed that own brand vodka is available at 27p a shot from Asda, while Morrisons was already selling Smirnoff for as little as 32p a shot in some stores.

“All the evidence indicates that the more affordable alcohol is, the more people drink. Alcohol is around 70 per cent more affordable today than it was in 1980 so it’s hardly surprising that we’re drinking more. For example, young men today are drinking twice the amount of alcohol their grandfathers did.

“With increased drinking levels comes greater harm. Around half of all violent crime and domestic abuse is alcohol-related and in the North East we have the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England.

“What is shocking about this round of discounts is that big businesses are dangerously marking down their prices at a time when they are being given a greater say in how alcohol harm should be tackled. It would seem that once again promoting public health is taking a back seat to returning a profit. The ridiculously low prices announced today make it clear that alcohol pricing cannot be left to supermarkets alone .

“The introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol would ensure alcohol is not available for pocket money prices. It would have greatest effect on strong, cheap alcohol, traditionally consumed by heavy and younger drinkers and sold in supermarkets. The introduction of a minimum price would have little impact on moderate drinkers and no effect on the price of a pint in your local.”