50p per unit for booze backed

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DRINK awareness campaigners have welcomed Scottish plans to introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol.

And bosses at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, say the UK Government should follow the example and not set the bar any lower.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “If a minimum unit price of 50p is required to tackle alcohol misuses in Scotland, the UK Government shouldn’t be setting the bar any lower.

“After all, we face many of the same problems as our neighbours. We have the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England and high rates of young people drinking. And while we have relatively low crime rates related to alcohol, it is still linked to half of violent crime and domestic abuse.”

A minimum unit price of 50p was recently backed by the British Medical Association’s Science Committee

“Minimum unit price needs to be set at the right level so that it takes cheap, strong drinks bought in off licences and supermarkets – things like white cider and own label vodka – out of the hands of young people and harmful drinkers,” Colin added.

“Government has a real opportunity to take an evidence based approach and ensure that the right minimum unit price is set across the UK as part of its Alcohol Strategy.”

He said a minimum unit price would target people who need help, while having little or no effect on the pockets of those who drink within the guidelines.

“It could even help revive our community pubs, which have been suffering because of the easy availability of cheap supermarket drink,” he added.