According to reports, conservative ministers are split over the proposed increase in alcohol prices. A minimum price of 45p per unit was suggested as a way to tackle problem drinking in England and Wales.
The Prime Minister David Cameron supports the pricing plan, as does Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston who says that ditching this evidence-based measure would be a “real tragedy”.
Research suggests that this price increase could help reduce drinking by 4.3%, potentially saving 2,000 lives over the course of a decade. Medical professionals are strongly in favour of this move and want to push prices up even more, to 50p per unit.
Opposers argue that minimum pricing will affect those who drink in moderation as well as problem drinkers. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association have also said that recent figures show alcohol consumption is falling, and that there is little evidence to support the idea that a price increase will reduce problem drinking.
If the minimum pricing scheme is introduced, a bottle of wine could not be sold for any less that £4.22 and a can of lager could not be sold for under £1.56. The department is also looking into banning multi-buy alcohol promotions such as ‘buy one get one free’.
Dr. Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the British Medical Association believes that our Prime Minister must be courageous.
“We are currently spending £20 billion a year overall on the cost of excess alcohol. Mr Cameron must be courageous. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to save lives and save the country money.”
For some, cheap alcohol offers an easy way to feed an addiction. If you feel you have an issue surrounding alcohol, it may be worth speaking to a qualified counsellor. For more information and to find a counsellor in your area, please see our Alcoholism page.
View and comment on the original BBC News article.