New alcohol measures should be introduced if minimum pricing dropped, says Swanswell

13 March 2013

Swanswell’s urging the government to urgently consider alternative measures to stop alcohol harm, if plans to introduce minimum pricing in England and Wales are dropped.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to reports this morning that Conservative ministers are understood to be split over the proposed price of 45p per unit of alcohol (reports BBC News).

Although Prime Minister David Cameron supports the plans, it’s reported there’s opposition from a number of the Cabinet including Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Commons leader Andrew Lansley.

If proposals are dropped, Swanswell believes the government needs to urgently put in place a number of alternative measures to help tackle alcohol misuse in England and Wales.

The charity suggests measures including going ahead with plans for a ban on multi-buy deals, increasing investment in services and improving alcohol education.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘After being so encouraged by the government considering unit pricing as one of the options to tackle alcohol misuse, we’re disappointed that plans could be dropped in England and Wales.     

If that is the case, we hope the government will still consider minimum pricing as an option later and look at increasing the price to 50p to mirror plans in Scotland.

Research suggests that this higher unit price would reduce consumption by 6.3% a year and cut alcohol-related hospital admissions by almost 100,000 cases a year, while reducing crime by 42,500 cases a year (reports BMA).

In the meantime, we hope the government remains focused on tackling alcohol misuse and will urgently consider alternatives, such as the suggested ban on multi-buy deals, looking at where alcohol’s sold and a investigating the product itself.

Most importantly, people need access to clearer information and better alcohol information alongside more investment in services, so they can make informed decisions about their own alcohol use and easily access help if they need it.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’







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