Find us on Facebook

alcohol health alliance uk

Thousands of North Easterners back campaign to reduce alcohol harm

15,000  North East signatures

15,000 North East signatures

Posted 07/02/13

Over 15,000 North Easterners have backed a campaign calling on Government to set a minimum unit price (MUP) on alcohol no less than 50p per unit – which will save lives, reduce hospital admissions and cut alcohol-related crime.

The campaign was launched by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, to coincide with the Government’s 12 week consultation on the national alcohol strategy which ended at midnight.

The Balance campaign has also received support from a range of organisations such as the Association of North East Councils, North East GPs and North East publicans.

Other organisations, including the majority of the region’s influential clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which will be in charge of commissioning health services for the North East from next year, are also backing a MUP of 50p per unit.

The 15,000 signatures have now been sent to the Government, along with a full response from Balance and its partners, and will form part of the national consultation.

Throughout the campaign Balance has called on Government to set MUP at a realistic and effective level, no lower than 50p per unit, to reduce the impact that alcohol continues to have on the North East. It is a targeted measure which will protect vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink cheap alcohol, and suffer the consequences. Moderate drinkers would only be expected to pay just 28p a week extra.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “We are delighted at the response we have had from the public and our partners throughout the duration of the 12 week consultation and we would like to thank them for their support. This campaign has really allowed people across the North East to have their say on this important issue and we will ensure that the North East’s opinion is heard – and importantly, considered.

“When people understand MUP and its benefits, they support it. We already knew that over half of the North East supported a minimum unit price and the people we have spoken to, on the streets, in shopping centres and in hospital are passionate about it being set no lower than 50p if we are to see real benefits and a reduction in alcohol harm.

“We have also had a great deal of support from partners in the North East and it is important to note that a lot of the support we are receiving is from the health community and local authorities – people and organisations that have people’s health and best interest at heart.

“Cheap alcohol is having a devastating impact on the North East – it’s ending lives, putting people in hospital, fuelling crime and threatening the future of our children and young people. This is the real cost of alcohol sold at pocket money prices. It’s no bargain, we’re paying a heavy price that we can no longer afford.

“We know that the more affordable alcohol is, the more people consume. A minimum unit price of at least 50p will make cheap, strong alcohol less affordable to the vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink it and suffer the consequences. It will have no effect on the price of a pint in a community pub.”

Research carried out by the University of Sheffield indicates that after ten years, every year in England a minimum 50p per unit will:

It estimates that moderate drinkers could be expected to pay just 28p a week extra on their weekly alcohol bill for these benefits, if a minimum 50p per unit were introduced.