Latest Public Sector News

23.03.12

Minimum pricing considered for England

The Government is proposing to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol for England and Wales, at a suggested 40p per unit. Ministers argue that this will not affect responsible pubs or drinkers but will make it more expensive to get drunk and cause problems for hospitals and police.

Similar proposals are currently being considered by the Scottish parliament. The change would alter the price of cheap ciders, lager and spirits sold mainly in supermarkets. The Government is also considering banning BOGOF deals but will allow half-price promotions.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.”

He suggested it could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 900 fewer alcohol related deaths per year by the end of the decade.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, RCP special adviser on alcohol and chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, welcomed the announcement, and called minimum pricing: “The fairest and most targeted way of helping those most at risk of damage to their health – young people and the heaviest drinkers.”

He added: “In order to get the best gains for health, the evidence shows that we need also to increase the price, reduce the availability, and tackle aggressive marketing of alcohol.”

Home Secretary Theresa May told BBC Breakfast: “Too many people think it’s a great night out to get really drunk and have a fight in our streets. What we need to do is to set a price that is actually going to ensure that we don’t damage responsible drinkers. People who like a drink or two, who like going down their local pub, have nothing to fear from this policy.

“But what we do want to do is to affect the cheapest end of alcohol, those sorts of offers that enable people to really do this ‘pre-loading’ - so many people now just get drunk at home before they go out, and that’s what causes the problems in our town centres.”

However, Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium said: “It’s simplistic to imagine a minimum price is some sort of silver bullet solution to irresponsible drinking.

“Irresponsible drinking has cultural causes and retailers have been hugely engaged in information and education to change attitudes to drinking.

“It’s a myth to suggest that supermarkets are the problem or that a pub is somehow a safer drinking environment. Effectively, a minimum price is a tax on responsible drinkers.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >