I am pleased that the PM has taken the campaign of Dr Sarah Woolaston, MP, and a multitude of other doctors and medical professionals seriously, and does intend to copy the Scottish and other countries examples on alcohol pricing. I spoke about this in the alcohol pricing debate in the House of Commons shortly before Christmas [scroll down the blog to see the debate or They work for you].
My desire is to protect pubs, who are the lifeblood of our community and where drinking is done safely, whilst trying to alleviate the problem of cut price strong alcohol which is widely available in the our supermarkets. It is not a ban but is a sensible, medical backed approach, which should be welcomed.
There is evidence to show that alcohol consumption in the UK has soared since pricing dropped - with a consequential effect on violence and Hospital A & E's.
The NHS Information Centre, Statistics on Alcohol: England 2008, makes grim reading:
" In 2006, in England, there were 6,517 deaths directly linked to alcohol, of which two thirds were men. This has increased by 19% since 2001 when there were 5,476 deaths.In 2006/07, there were 57,142 NHS hospital admissions in England with a primary diagnosis specifically related to alcohol. This number has risen by 52% since 1995/96"
In failing to implement pricing of cheap supermarket booze the Labour Government, when presented with these stats, rejected the advice of virtually the whole scientific and public health community based on the accumulated international evidence that the price of alcohol is one of the principal influences on levels of alcohol consumption and harm.
If you are in any doubt about the need for this action ask any doctor, health professional or policeman