Responding to the announcement today that the Government has reneged on its commitment to introduce the minimum pricing of alcohol, Julia Manning, Chief Executive, 2020health says:
“We are extremely disappointed that the Prime Minister has decided not to tackle head on, the growing trend of casual and damaging alcohol consumption head on.
“Whilst we are pleased that there is still talk of banning retailers from selling alcohol at ‘loss-leader deals’, this is a poor substitute for the strong policy of minimum pricing, which has a proven successful track record. Banning retailers from selling cheap alcohol would be a minimal action to tackle Britain’s binge drinking culture or minimise the health related harms of alcohol.
“Minimum pricing would have sent a clear message to all sectors of society about the harms of frequent, excessive drinking.
During the week about 30% of A&E attendance is due to people being drunk; at the weekend this can rise to 70%. Drinking to excess costs the UK economy between £20 and £55Bn a year, across aspects including health, crime, family breakdown, violence and lost working days. As highlighted in the 2020health report “From one to many: the risks of frequent excessive drinking” (2011) 7% of all hospital admissions (around 1 million people) and 35% of A&E attendances are due to alcohol—a situation which is largely avoidable and an unnecessary strain on NHS resources.”