Find us on Facebook

alcohol health alliance uk

Health bodies say Government must stand firm on MUP

Posted 13/03/13

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, today urges the Government to stand firm on its commitment to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol (MUP).

Balance joins a group of leading health organisations who argue that in recent months the evidence to support MUP has strengthened, and the breadth of public and professional backing for the policy has widened. The only major opposition to MUP has been driven by a well-funded, high profile campaign led by the global alcohol producers, whose profit motives must not be prioritised over public safety and wellbeing.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “We congratulate the Government for looking at the strong evidence to support MUP and proposing to introduce this targeted policy that promises to save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of crimes.

“Here in the North East we know that it is needed and it is wanted – evidence also tells us that it works. Our region continues to suffer from some of the highest levels of alcohol harm. We have the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions and the highest rate of under 18s in alcohol treatment.

“Importantly most people in the region have backed call for the introduction of a minimum unit price. It is supported by the majority of the North East public, it is supported by our GPs, it is supported by our police and it is supported our publicans.

“Since the Government announced its proposals in March, the evidence for MUP has strengthened and the support-base for this crucial policy has widened.

“We have now seen real-life results from Canada that indicate a 10% increase in the minimum price of some drinks led to a 33% decrease in wholly alcohol related deaths.

“The last few weeks have seen a number of major health reports showing Britain faces an enormous burden from alcohol. With death rates from liver disease rising by 65% over the past 20 years, the Government cannot afford to do nothing.

“Doctors, the police, emergency services and leading children’s charities all publically endorse MUP, and recent public opinion polls show the majority of people support tough action on alcohol too.

“Sections of the drinks industry have also come out in favour of MUP, as major brewers concur with the majority of pub landlords that MUP will help local pubs that are being undercut by cheap drink sold in supermarkets.

“The only opposing force that has emerged against MUP in recent times has been a high profile, well-funded campaign led by the global alcohol producers. This is a group with a clear interest in prioritising profits over public health.

“We urge the Government to stand firm on MUP in the confidence that the evidence gets stronger, and the support base wider, for this policy by the day.”