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Minimum unit price for alcohol is planned for England and Wales

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2295 (Published 23 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2295
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

The Government is to introduce a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as soon as it has consulted on what that price should be, it says in its new national alcohol strategy for England and Wales. The price is likely to be around 40p per unit.

The strategy has been billed as “a radical approach to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking, which costs the UK £21bn [€25.1bn; $33.3bn] a year,” and aims to end the scenario of beer for sale at prices cheaper than water. The strategy is also being promoted as a means of reducing the 1.2 million alcohol related hospital admissions in 2011.

Minimum price policies are already being considered in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As part of the strategy, the government is also considering giving more powers to hospital accident and emergency departments and pubs to refuse to deal with people who are drunk; banning multibuy promotions such as buy one, get one free; and a late night levy to make pubs and clubs help pay for policing.

Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. …

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