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alcohol health alliance uk

Balance welcomes Scottish plans for 50p minimum unit price

Posted 14/05/12

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s intention to introduce a minimum unit price of 50p.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “If a minimum unit price of 50p is required to tackle alcohol misuses in Scotland, the UK Government shouldn’t be setting the bar any lower.

“After all, we face many of the same problems as our neighbours. We have the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in England and high rates of young people drinking. And while we have relatively low crime rates related to alcohol, it is still linked to half of violent crime and domestic abuse.”

A minimum unit price of 50p was recently backed by the British Medical Association’s Science Committee

“Minimum unit price needs to be set at the right level so that it takes cheap, strong drinks bought in off licences and supermarkets – things like white cider and own label vodka – out of the hands of young people and harmful drinkers,” Colin explained.

“Government has a real opportunity to take an evidence based approach and ensure that the right minimum unit price is set across the UK as part of its Alcohol Strategy.

“Minimum unit price targets those who need help, while having little or no effect on the pockets of those who drink within the guidelines. It could even help revive our community pubs, which have been suffering because of the easy availability of cheap supermarket drink.”

Minimum unit price has the support of a majority of people in the North East and its introduction has been supported by councils across the North East.

Since its launch in 2009 Balance has consistently campaigned for a minimum unit price, producing an annual price report to reveal the pocket money prices at which alcohol is being sold. Alcohol is currently available in North East region for as little as 12p per unit of alcohol and a two litre bottle of cider can be bought from just £1.34.