Stockton's Infinity Bridge

ANEC calls on Chancellor to adopt minimum unit price for alcohol in budget statement

19 March 2013

Ahead of the Chancellor's Budget Statement on 20 March, the Association of North East Councils is urging the Chancellor to adopt a Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol. All 12 councils support a Minimum Unit Price of 50 pence per unit and have made strong representation to the Government on this in the recent consultation on a National Alcohol Strategy.

Amidst speculation about what the next steps might be ANEC is urging the Government to commit to a Minimum Unit Price for alcohol in Wednesday's Budget announcement.

Chair of ANEC, Cllr Watson said, "Adopting a minimum unit price for alcohol will have a transformational effect, not only on people's lives and health outcomes, but on costs to the NHS and to the economy. Evidence based research is unequivocal in highlighting the negative and harmful effects to individuals and society of alcohol misuse.

"The introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol will not in itself resolve all of the issues linked to alcohol harm but has the potential to make a significant contribution in reducing alcohol related deaths, crime and social disorder. It is clear from recent surveys that there is growing support from a broad body of opinion including members of the public, health professionals, the police and publicans for minimum unit pricing.

"Councils across the North East urge the Government to seize this opportunity to introduce legislation that will have a major positive effect on the health and wellbeing of people and society".

It is estimated that the damage caused by alcohol misuse in the North East is considerable. Around 40 per cent of violent crime is linked to alcohol; more than a third of domestic abuse is linked to alcohol; we have the highest rates of alcohol related hospital admissions; and clearing up the problems of alcohol harm costs the North East economy more than £1 billion a year.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: "Cheap alcohol devastates lives. Here in the North East we have the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in the UK and the highest rate of under 18s in alcohol treatment. Only yesterday we discovered that hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease have increased by 400 per cent amongst people in their 20s over the last 10 years.

"A minimum unit price is a key part of the solution to these problems as it increases the price of the cheapest products, those most responsible for damaging vulnerable drinkers, while having minimum impact on moderate drinkers, who would pay just 28p extra a week on their drinks bill."

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