Health watchdog backs minimum price for alcohol
The Government should set a legal floor for the price of alcohol to improve health and cut crime, Public Health England said yesterday.
A legal minimum for alcohol prices would save the lives of those with serious drinking problems while having a small impact on moderate drinkers, the body said.
PHE argued that a 60p minimum price for a unit, which would mean a bottle of wine could cost at least £6, would save the lives of 1,200 heavy drinkers and prevent 51,000 hospital admissions a year.
The plan would cost moderate drinkers an extra 60p a month, or £1.40 if combined with a rise in alcohol duty.
David Cameron proposed a minimum alcohol price of 45p per unit when he was prime minister before scrapping the idea in 2013.
PHE also backed tougher restrictions on alcohol advertising, restricting sales and lowering the drink-drive limit for newly qualified drivers.
Existing policy that banned below-cost sales prices were a hundred times less effective than a minimum price would be, it calculated.
Kevin Fenton, PHE director of health and wellbeing, said alcohol abuse cost more years of life than the ten most common cancers combined. “Excessive alcohol consumption can harm children, wreck families, impact on workplace colleagues and can be a burden and drain on the NHS and economy.”