Thursday 22 March 2012

Minimum price for alcohol introduced in bid to tackle Britain's binge crisis

The cost of a pint of beer will be at least 80p and a pint of strong cider would be at least £1.60. Mr Cameron said he was trying to tackle the country’s binge drinking culture and was targeting those who ‘pre-load’ on cheap supermarket drink before going out. He wants a 40p minimum charge for each unit of alcohol, following similar moves in Scotland. The prime minister said: ‘We’re consulting on the actual price but, if it is 40p, that could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 9,000 fewer alcohol-related deaths over the next decade.’ The minimum price was welcomed by police and health campaigners, who say drink was behind 1.2million hospital admissions and 1million crimes last year, and  cost Britain £21billion a year. Critics, however, say it will unfairly punish the vast majority, who are sensible drinkers and comes just hours after a five per cent rise in duty on drink was confirmed in the budget. Mr Cameron also wants to give pubs more powers not to serve people who are drunk, a zero tolerance approach to drunken behaviour in hospitals, a ban on multi-buy discounts and a late night levy on pubs and clubs to help pay for policing. A consultation will take place in the summer, with a new law introduced by the end of the year. He said: ‘Binge drinking is a serious problem. And I make no excuses for clamping down on it.’ Supermarkets will oppose a minimum price. At Asda, a can of Smartprice lager costs 22p. The supermarket is also selling wine at £2.30 a bottle. It contains 8.3 units of alcohol, meaning it will rise in price by at least £1.


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