Alcohol is now being sold so cheaply in supermarkets and off-licences that drinkers are able exceed the Government’s recommended weekly safe intake for less than the price of a takeaway coffee, according to research.
After checking the prices of cider, vodka, lager and wine in leading supermarkets researchers found you can currently buy a 3 litre bottle of 7.5 per cent Frosty Jacks cider on sale at £3.50, or 16p per unit, in a leading supermarket.
This would allow a problem drinker to exceed the Government’s recommended maximum weekly alcohol limit of 14 units for men and women for just £2.18.
Charity Alcohol Concern is one body calling for the long mooted minimum alcohol unit pricing to be brought in by the English Government.
A spokesman said: “Alcohol Concern has been working tirelessly to try and introduce minimum unit pricing for alcoholic drinks. We believe that the minimum unit price for alcohol should be at least 50p.
“Minimum pricing would mean that there is a baseline price for alcohol, below which it couldn’t be sold. This campaign targets high strength alcoholic drinks that is sold very cheaply – drinks that are often consumed by the heaviest drinkers, as well as by younger drinkers. Moderate drinkers will feel little effect from minimum pricing.
“Alcohol-related harm remains one of the biggest health problems facing the UK, with over 10 million adults drinking more than recommended guidelines. Alcohol is a contributor to 60 different diseases and its excessive consumption is a significant cause of premature death in the UK. IT costs the NHS £3.5 billion, while alcohol-related crime costs an estimated £11 billion each year.
“Approximately 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are drinking dangerous amounts, while over 700,000 live with dependent drinkers. There is a clear link between the price of alcohol and the level of alcohol-related harm, so it goes without saying that the most effective way to reduce harm is to control price and availability.
“In 2012, the government committed to introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol. Later that year, the Home Office released a consultation recommending a minimum unit price of 45p. Along with many other organisations, Alcohol Concern is calling for a minimum unit price of 50p, as this will have a greater impact on reducing alcohol-related harm. It will also be in line with what’s happened in Scotland where legislation has already been passed.”