Crunch time for the government on alcohol pricing in England

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1784 (Published 20 March 2013)
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1784

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  1. Gabriel Scally, director
  1. 1WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
  1. gabriel.scally{at}btinternet.com

Backtracking on the minimum unit price pledge would be a public health disaster

Last week, David Cameron was questioned in parliament on a claim that the forthcoming budget speech would be used to announce that the government would not be implementing a minimum price per unit of alcohol in England.1 If the prime minister does not implement his pledge to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol it will be not be just a policy U-turn but a wilful disregard for the health and wellbeing of the English population. According to the figures quoted in the government’s own alcohol strategy published in 2012, there were almost one million alcohol related violent crimes and 1.2 million alcohol related hospital admissions in 2010-11 alone.2 In its written evidence to the 2012 Health Select Committee, the Department of Health estimated the total costs of alcohol misuse in England at about £21bn (€24.5bn; $31.8bn) …

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