Drinks industry blamed for binge-drinking and health problems

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Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

The drinks industry is under fire yet again - this time being blamed for regional health problems and binge-drinking.A leading health expert last...

The drinks industry is under fire yet again - this time being blamed for regional health problems and binge-drinking.

A leading health expert last month pointed the finger at Manchester, saying the city's drinking culture is taking its toll on the region's health.

North West public health director John Ashton said it was a disgrace that the life expectancy of people living in the city was seven years less than the rest of the country and the problems facing the region were huge.

"The North West is in a dire situation when it comes to alcohol," he said. "Thirty five per cent of adult males drink excessively or binge drink and the situation is at crisis point.

"We know our regeneration is, in part, being built on cheap drinking establishments."

Meanwhile, Bolton police have asked pubs to stick to a minimum price for selling drinks in a bid to curb binge-drinking.

Licensees have been asked to ban happy hours and drinks' promotions so that under the voluntary scheme, a pint of beer will cost a minimum of £1.20, shots £1, a small glass of wine £1.25 and bottled drinks such as Smirnoff Ice and beers £1.50.

Cornwall, Devon, Middlesbrough and Perth and Kinross in Scotland also run similar schemes.

Licensing officer for Bolton, Greg Pickle, said: "The scheme is voluntary, but most licensees have happily jumped on board."

But Lee Le Clercq, spokesman for the North West British Beer and Pub Association, said Manchester's shortened life expectancy had nothing to do with the number of pubs and clubs in the city.

"I don't see how Manchester is any different from any other big city," he said.

"To say people in the North West are unhealthier and more likely to die early because Manchester has a large number of licensed premises is simply nonsense. There must be other reasons."

Related topics: Health & safety

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