Binge-drink Britain unveils minimum booze price plan

The British government was to announce plans on Wednesday for a minimum alcohol price of £0.45 ($0.72, 0.56 euros) in England and Wales in an attempt to restrain an infamous binge-drinking culture.

The interior ministry was unveiling a consultation on the per-unit price, having announced in March that it would introduce minimum pricing to curb the "scourge of violence" caused by drunken revellers in town centres.

In Scotland, a minimum price of £0.50 per unit is due to come into force next April.

One unit in Britain is 10 millilitres of pure alcohol. A double pub measure of spirits, a pint of low-strength beer and a medium each contain around two units.

"Those who enjoy a quiet drink or two have nothing to fear from our proposals," an interior ministry official said.

The consultation will last 10 weeks.

Minimum pricing is designed to prevent supermarkets and selling heavily discounted drinks, which are blamed by the government for much of the rowdy behaviour seen on British streets at the weekends.

The drinks most affected would be cheap, super-strength ciders and lagers.

Multi-buy deals could also be banned under the plans.

The minimum price is not expected to affect the cost of drinks in pubs.

costs Britain's (NHS) around £2.7 billion a year, the government says, while the interior ministry estimates wider societal costs of around £21 billion a year.

Prime Minister David Cameron initially proposed a of £0.40 for England and Wales, but was under pressure to follow Scotland's lead and raise the threshold.

But the drinks industry protests that minimum pricing will punish low-earners without addressing the underlying problems.

"Where's the evidence that imposing a blanket measure that puts up prices for all customers will make a difference?" said Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium.

"Most people already drink less than recommended limits. There is no reason why they should be denied access to discounts."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scotland sets minimum price for booze

May 24, 2012

Scotland on Thursday became the first part of Britain to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in an attempt to change its unhealthy relationship with booze.

Scotland sets minimum alcohol price

May 14, 2012

The Scottish government set out a minimum price for alcohol Monday, saying too many Scots were "drinking themselves to death" and it was time to tackle the country's relationship with booze.

UK: Minimum alcohol price not set high enough

Feb 24, 2012

Following Prime Minister David Cameron's vow last week to tackle binge drinking, new research from Newcastle University has highlighted the need for a strong approach to alcohol pricing.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rincewind
not rated yet Nov 28, 2012
Right. The prices are what's to blame. Lets change social behaviour by hacking the free market economy. That'll work.