Call to put up booze prices

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AN alcohol awareness group has called for a minimum pricing policy to help tackle problems of abuse.

The call came from the North -East group Balance after Scotland decided to introduce an alcohol minimum pricing bill.

Balance director Colin Shevills said: “Making alcohol less affordable strikes at the very heart of the problems that we face at the hands of alcohol misuse.

“Research shows us that the more alcohol consumed, the greater the damage done to our families and communities.

“It also shows that consumption levels are hugely affected by price.”

Mr Shevills said alcohol was now 44 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980 and consumption had increased dramatically.

He added: “Over the last 60 years average alcohol consumption per person, per year has more than doubled to over 11 litres.

“We need to turn back the tide. Here in the North-East, a third of people say they would buy less alcohol if prices were raised.

“If an alcohol minimum pricing bill is good enough for Scotland, it’s certainly good enough for us. After all, here in the North-East, we face many of the same problems as our neighbours.

“A third of North Easterners are drinking above the Government’s recommended limits on a daily or almost daily basis and one in five binge drinks weekly.

“We have the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in England and half of all violent crime is alcohol related.”