Charging less than 50p per unit of alcohol will cost many lives, claims campaign boss

The Northern Echo: Cheap alcohol on sale in the North-East Cheap alcohol on sale in the North-East

THE director of the North-East alcohol control office has urged the Government not to bottle it over minimum pricing for units of alcohol.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North-East alcohol office, claimed that setting a 45p minimum unit price for alcohol rather than the 50p recommended by medical experts could cost an extra thousand lives.

The Government launched a 10 week consultation on its plan to introduce a 45p minimum price per unit, claiming that it will help to reduce the levels of ill-health and harm linked to excessive consumption of alcohol by forcing up the prices of cheap cider and vodka.

But Mr Shevills urged the Government to follow the example of Scotland and set the minimum unit of alcohol price at 50p.

Mr Shevills argued that the five pence difference could result in a large number of avoidable deaths.

"Setting the price lower than 50p will realise fewer benefits. For instance, under a minimum 45p per unit we stand to save 2,288 lives - that's more than a thousand fewer lives than a minimum 50p per unit. Do we really value life so cheaply that we'd sacrifice a thousand lives for the sake of 5p extra per unit?"

Mr Shevills pointed out that minimum pricing has already reduced alcohol consumption in Canada Targeted at helping the vulnerable, research suggests a minimum 50p per unit would reduce consumption by harmful drinkers by 10 per cent and young people by 7 per cent At the same time, moderate drinkers would pay just 28p extra a week on alcohol for these benefits.

Mr Shevills added: "Importantly, a minimum unit price is backed by a majority of North-Easterners, as well as those concerned about our health and wellbeing, including eight in 10 regional GPs.

"Not only that, but a significant proportion of the alcohol industry itself wants a minimum unit price, including seven in 10 North-East publicans."

The Home Office has said the proposal to introduce minimum pricing is aimed at "harmful drinkers and irresponsible shops" and should not affect the price of a pub pint.

However, the Government's proposals have been opposed by the wine and spirits industry which has argued that responsible drinkers will suffer.

Comments (9)

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6:18pm Wed 28 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

Yet again a very one-sided article. It is virtually all favourable to this tax increase, with just one short sentence added at the end referring to the wine and spirits industry.

"a significant proportion of the alcohol industry itself wants a minimum unit price, including seven in 10 North-East publicans."

Well they would, wouldn't they?! They think it will help their business profits. They are wrong of course. Beer tax has made pubs far too expensive and the beer tax escalator is still in place and making it worse - it is this that publicans should be complaining about (3 out of 10 obviously realise this). Making home drinking too expensive just makes all drinking too expensive!

A 45p minimum unit price is disgracefully high. It will lead to a tripling of many alcohol prices in off-licences and supermarkets. Every adult in the country, (49,100,000) faces this huge price hike, not just an irresponsible few.

Just 1,000 extra lives saved from an even higher, 50p unit price? Nice round figure, which of course means its a guess - 'Balance' don't really have a clue. In percentage terms (to 2 decimal points this time!) this is 0.00% of the adult population.

One thing is certain though; if we ban the driving of all motor vehicles we will avoid thousands of motor vehicle-related deaths each year!
Yet again a very one-sided article. It is virtually all favourable to this tax increase, with just one short sentence added at the end referring to the wine and spirits industry. "a significant proportion of the alcohol industry itself wants a minimum unit price, including seven in 10 North-East publicans." Well they would, wouldn't they?! They think it will help their business profits. They are wrong of course. Beer tax has made pubs far too expensive and the beer tax escalator is still in place and making it worse - it is this that publicans should be complaining about (3 out of 10 obviously realise this). Making home drinking too expensive just makes all drinking too expensive! A 45p minimum unit price is disgracefully high. It will lead to a tripling of many alcohol prices in off-licences and supermarkets. Every adult in the country, (49,100,000) faces this huge price hike, not just an irresponsible few. Just 1,000 extra lives saved from an even higher, 50p unit price? Nice round figure, which of course means its a guess - 'Balance' don't really have a clue. In percentage terms (to 2 decimal points this time!) this is 0.00% of the adult population. One thing is certain though; if we ban the driving of all motor vehicles we will avoid thousands of motor vehicle-related deaths each year! frankyboy

7:04pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Axziz68 says...

wont work, Trouble will still drink ,, they will just rob more people for cash n booze or dip more out of there mams purses or dads wallets when they are drunk or asleep,,, TAX,TAX,TAX. SIMPLES. and maybee more will turn to cheap drugs or chemicals,,to get a buzz.. Look at proibition in usa..CRIME WENT UP 200% IN 5 YEARS..
wont work, Trouble will still drink ,, they will just rob more people for cash n booze or dip more out of there mams purses or dads wallets when they are drunk or asleep,,, TAX,TAX,TAX. SIMPLES. and maybee more will turn to cheap drugs or chemicals,,to get a buzz.. Look at proibition in usa..CRIME WENT UP 200% IN 5 YEARS.. Axziz68

9:39pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Quakerz says...

It's all about the tax, they think we're thick.
It's all about the tax, they think we're thick. Quakerz

10:26pm Wed 28 Nov 12

spragger says...

Illegal brewers and distillers in the Boro let out a cheer at the news.
As did the 'booze cruise' industry.
Yet more Government interfering in our lives, to what will be little, or no, avail
Illegal brewers and distillers in the Boro let out a cheer at the news. As did the 'booze cruise' industry. Yet more Government interfering in our lives, to what will be little, or no, avail spragger

10:28am Thu 29 Nov 12

oldgit57 says...

More interference with an individual’s freedom of choice! Do-gooders make me sick and the government is using them for their own ends. This is a stealth tax and they are hiding behind health issues when the vast majority of the people of this country don’t have a problem and enjoy a drink and the cheaper the better “market forces”.

If drinking alcohol is so bad for you why do they give alcoholics more money?
Can anyone tell me if they do insist on a minimum unit price will the Alcoholics extra dividend in benefits be increased?
More interference with an individual’s freedom of choice! Do-gooders make me sick and the government is using them for their own ends. This is a stealth tax and they are hiding behind health issues when the vast majority of the people of this country don’t have a problem and enjoy a drink and the cheaper the better “market forces”. If drinking alcohol is so bad for you why do they give alcoholics more money? Can anyone tell me if they do insist on a minimum unit price will the Alcoholics extra dividend in benefits be increased? oldgit57

10:32am Thu 29 Nov 12

Jolly Roger says...

I think the Government and the Doctors should realise we all come into this world just for a short tiWe are born then live our lives how we want to and then DIE - NO IFS OR BUTS,

If we want to smoke or drink ourselves to death it is our way of living not those who tax us to bits.

As we know with them stopping us smoking how much TAX they have lost and are having to find in other means.

So come on let us enjoy our lives how-ever we wish without living in a nanny state like we are now becoming.
I think the Government and the Doctors should realise we all come into this world just for a short tiWe are born then live our lives how we want to and then DIE - NO IFS OR BUTS, If we want to smoke or drink ourselves to death it is our way of living not those who tax us to bits. As we know with them stopping us smoking how much TAX they have lost and are having to find in other means. So come on let us enjoy our lives how-ever we wish without living in a nanny state like we are now becoming. Jolly Roger

12:10pm Thu 29 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

Forgive me, but just one more (for now!) misleading statement from 'Balance' that I'd like to expose:

'Alcohol is more affordable now than it was in 1980'.

The fact is that alcohol, and this takes into account inflation, is approx 25% more expensive than it was in 1980. The trick that 'Balance' are trying to pull is to say that because average net disposable incomes have increased by more than 25% over the same period, alcohol is more 'affordable'.

But then lots of things are more affordable; clothes, food, electrical goods etc. Lots of essential things are less affordable; houses, heating costs, petrol, etc.

So just because one item is 'more affordable' does not mean we can spend more money on it. You have to consider the whole picture and the only real judge of whether we have an alcohol problem is surely whether consumption is constantly increasing. Over almost the last decade alcohol consumption has fallen in the UK, particularly amongst the young. And the amount of disposable income spent on alcohol has halved!

Alcohol abuse by home drinkers is not an increasing problem and this is just another despicable Tory tax con that targets the whole of the UK.
Forgive me, but just one more (for now!) misleading statement from 'Balance' that I'd like to expose: 'Alcohol is more affordable now than it was in 1980'. The fact is that alcohol, and this takes into account inflation, is approx 25% more expensive than it was in 1980. The trick that 'Balance' are trying to pull is to say that because average net disposable incomes have increased by more than 25% over the same period, alcohol is more 'affordable'. But then lots of things are more affordable; clothes, food, electrical goods etc. Lots of essential things are less affordable; houses, heating costs, petrol, etc. So just because one item is 'more affordable' does not mean we can spend more money on it. You have to consider the whole picture and the only real judge of whether we have an alcohol problem is surely whether consumption is constantly increasing. Over almost the last decade alcohol consumption has fallen in the UK, particularly amongst the young. And the amount of disposable income spent on alcohol has halved! Alcohol abuse by home drinkers is not an increasing problem and this is just another despicable Tory tax con that targets the whole of the UK. frankyboy

4:14pm Thu 29 Nov 12

loonyleft says...

ALCOHOL ABUSE AT HOME IS NOT A PROBLEM,NOW I KNOW YOU ARE IN DENIAL,THAT IS "THE PROBLEM" IT' STHE WHOLE CRUX OF TH EPROBLEM,WHEN THESE HOME DRINKERS MOVE ON TO THE TOWN AND CONTINUE BOOZING,THEN THE PUBS AND THE POLICE,AND HOSPITALS GET ALL THE FLAK.
ALCOHOL ABUSE AT HOME IS NOT A PROBLEM,NOW I KNOW YOU ARE IN DENIAL,THAT IS "THE PROBLEM" IT' STHE WHOLE CRUX OF TH EPROBLEM,WHEN THESE HOME DRINKERS MOVE ON TO THE TOWN AND CONTINUE BOOZING,THEN THE PUBS AND THE POLICE,AND HOSPITALS GET ALL THE FLAK. loonyleft

5:27pm Thu 29 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

Why the capital letters?

I can now see why you are often accused of making things up. Just step back from your inclination to oppose people and consider the facts.

Over 21 million people in the UK are aged over 50. How many of those drink at home, between very little and quite a lot? Between very rarely and regularly? The majority of them?

Now, how many of these aged 50+ home drinkers 'move on to the town' to drink more and cause 'flak' for the police and hospitals? In % terms, about none of them?

How many of them will have to pay the minimum price tax? Yes, that's right, over 21 million of them!

Let me challenge you. Go into Darlo tonight, have a look around the streets (there is a lot of them) and then tell us tomorrow how many of those streets had 'mayhem' on them due to alcohol. But you have to also determine how much of this 'alcohol-fuelled mayhem on our streets' was due to cheap supermarket alcohol. My guess is that, if you take the challenge, your answer will be zero.

You don't believe the spin. I know it. You just like to oppose.

I don't know how many people are aged over 40 in the UK, but it must 30 million or so. I still think the answer of how many cause 'flak' after home drinking would be zero, to the nearest %. But again, 30 million of them face the minimum price tax.
Why the capital letters? I can now see why you are often accused of making things up. Just step back from your inclination to oppose people and consider the facts. Over 21 million people in the UK are aged over 50. How many of those drink at home, between very little and quite a lot? Between very rarely and regularly? The majority of them? Now, how many of these aged 50+ home drinkers 'move on to the town' to drink more and cause 'flak' for the police and hospitals? In % terms, about none of them? How many of them will have to pay the minimum price tax? Yes, that's right, over 21 million of them! Let me challenge you. Go into Darlo tonight, have a look around the streets (there is a lot of them) and then tell us tomorrow how many of those streets had 'mayhem' on them due to alcohol. But you have to also determine how much of this 'alcohol-fuelled mayhem on our streets' was due to cheap supermarket alcohol. My guess is that, if you take the challenge, your answer will be zero. You don't believe the spin. I know it. You just like to oppose. I don't know how many people are aged over 40 in the UK, but it must 30 million or so. I still think the answer of how many cause 'flak' after home drinking would be zero, to the nearest %. But again, 30 million of them face the minimum price tax. frankyboy

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