Northern Ireland pushes for minimum price

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Drinking culture, Binge drinking, Alcoholism

Supermarkets: alcohol sold cheaply
Supermarkets: alcohol sold cheaply
Ministers in Northern Ireland are pushing for the introduction of a minimum price on alcohol of between 40p and 70p a unit. Social Development...

Ministers in Northern Ireland are pushing for the introduction of a minimum price on alcohol of between 40p and 70p a unit.

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood and Health Minister Michael McGimpsey have launched a consultation aimed at reduce anti-social behaviour and binge drinking.

A minimum of price of 40p would put the cost of a six pack of beer at £4.40 and £7.70 with a minimum price of 70p a unit.

"I want to make it clear that we are in no way penalising responsible drinkers," said Social Development Minister Alex Attwood said. "I am though concerned about the level of alcohol misuse in Northern Ireland and in particular how heavily discounted alcohol prices contributes to the problem.

"I believe there is a strong weight of evidence for introducing minimum pricing as a further tool for tackling the harm of alcohol misuse in our society.

"This initiative, together with proposals and new laws on irresponsible alcohol promotions, will be important steps forward in the dealing with the use and misuse of alcohol."

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey added: "In real terms, alcohol is 62% more affordable now than it was 30 years ago and research indicates that a minimum unit price of 40p and a ban on promotions could decrease consumption by 5.4%. This would mean savings of £13.5million to the health and Social Care Sector every year.

"We need to take significant action now and today's consultation marks an important step in changing our unhealthy relationship with alcohol. It will not come overnight, but by working in partnership and being pro-active, we will make a difference."

Related topics: Legislation

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