Minimum alcohol pricing

23/03/12
Issue of the day: Minimum alcohol pricing
Issue of the day: Minimum alcohol pricing

The prime minister announced the government's support for a minimum price per unit of alcohol today.

As part of an attempt to curb Britain's heavy drinking culture, shops will prohibited from charging less than 40p per unit of alcohol and supermarkets will be forbidden from offering multi-buy deals.

The prime minister accepted the move would be unpopular, but said it is necessary to curb the crime and rising costs to the NHS that binge drinking incurs.

Such a policy would not affect the cost of drinks in pubs, but is instead intended to increase the price of discount ciders, lagers, and cheap spirits.

The prime minister has previously proposed a minimum price per unit of alcohol, particular in February, when it was revealed that problem drinking cost the NHS £2.7 million a year.

Similar measures are underway in Scotland, which suffers from Britain's highest rates of alcohol related crime.

The proposals have come under fierce criticism from drinks companies, who argue it would punish responsible drinkers and that problems of binge drinking are societal, not related to the price of alcohol.

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