Call for UK-wide 50p per unit price
There must be a pan-UK technique to combat problem drinking – including a 50p minimum price for a unit of alcohol, experts say.
The call by a coalition of 70 health groups and campaigners comes as different approaches are being pursued within the UK.
Their report said it was time for a “no-nonsense” and consistent approach.
This also needs to include a ban on advertising and difficult rules on sales, it said.
Devolution has meant different strategies was developing to tackle rising rates of problem drinking.
In Scotland a 50p price is determined to be introduced, while a 45p threshold have been proposed for England and Wales.
Northern Ireland is yet to place forward a selected proposal, even though it is reviewing pricing.
Slightly different licensing regimes exist besides.
But the report, produced by Stirling University experts with the backing of a bunch of royal colleges, health charities and medical groups, said this fragmented approach needed to end.
Research has suggested a 50p minimum price would cut back consumption by 6.7% which after 10 years would mean there have been 3,000 fewer alcohol deaths and 100,000 fewer hospital admissions.
As well as proposing a minimum price, it also said alcohol-related advertising and sponsorship should end and a 3rd of the distance of labels ought to be taken up by health warnings.
Licensing rules must also be standardised, while the drink-drive limit must be lowered, it said.
But perhaps one of the most radical suggestion was the concept that there could be restrictions on where and when alcohol can be sold.
The report didn’t recommend specific proposals, however the Stirling team said this may include a ban on sales after certain times within the evening and separate tills in supermarkets for alcohol.
The report, dubbed an independent alcohol strategy for the united kingdom, also highlighted the toll of excessive drinking.
Alcohol consumption has risen by 40% during the past 40 years with 1 / 4 of fellows and 17% of girls drinking greater than is sweet for them.
Alcohol related deaths now stand at nearly 9,000 a year – greater than double the figure within the early 1990s.
Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said it was essential the united kingdom governments worked together at the issue.
“The report provides a blueprint for action now and sooner or later.”
Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, which has also put its name to the report, added: “We must all do something now to begin to tackle this avoidable epidemic.”