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Government announces plans for minimum price for alcohol

The coalition government has announced proposals for a minimum price of around 21p per unit of beer and 28p per unit of spirits - far lower than the 50p-per-unit minimum that has been called for by many health organisations, including FPH and NICE. 

Professor Mark Bellis, FPH alcohol lead, said: “The government’s proposed plans for minimum pricing will have little, if any, health impact.

"The small increase in price on just a few products will neither deter heavy drinkers nor, crucially, children and young people for whom pocket-money price alcohol will remain widely available.”

However, FPH considers the move is an important acknowledgment by the government that there is a clear link between consumption and affordability of alcohol.

Although the proposed minimum price per unit is too low, it is hoped that alcohol minimum pricing will now be a topic for serious debate at the public health responsibility deals; increasing it to the optimum 50p level would make serious reductions in alcohol-related harm and loss of life.

Last year, research by Sheffield University showed that after a decade a 50p minimum price per unit would prevent almost 3,000 deaths every year and 41,000 cases of chronic illness.

BBC story: Minimum alcohol price levels planned by coalition.

Written: 18/01/2011 , last modified: 09/11/2011