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Should 50p be minimum price for a unit of alcohol?

MPs have called for a fundamental overhaul of government policy to curb excessive drinking, and want to introduce a 50p per unit of alcohol as a mininum price. Will this help save lives?

The parliamentary Health Select Committee said the move could save over 3,000 lives a year. Its scathing report accused ministers of paying more attention to the drinks industry's views than health experts.

Minimum pricing has already been endorsed both by the Scottish Executive and the Chief Medical Officer for England, but rejected by the prime minister and the Conservative Party. Critics say it would penalise moderate drinkers.

What impact could minimum pricing have on drinking? Would you change your drinking habits if the change happened? Is this the best way to curb excessive drinking? Is alcohol too cheap? What are your experiences?

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Published: Friday, 8 January, 2010, 09:48 GMT 09:48 UK

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 11:00 GMT 11:00 UK

Minimum pricing has already been endorsed both by the Scottish Executive and the Chief Medical Officer for England, but rejected by the prime minister and the Conservative Party.

I personally expect some other form of action or pricing /taxation to be introduced.

Politics has a long history of presenting policys in a harsh light so that actual desired outcomes are more easily accepted & attained.
Public then thinks it's won concessions but in reality, the lesser policy was the desire.

[MrWonderfulReality]

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:55 GMT 10:55 UK

It is naive to believe that the price of alcohol would have much baring on drinking habits of the nation. Education will, however, and must start in early years.

When my children were around 6 years old, I mixed water with strong wine and food coloring and offered it to them. they hated it and now as fully grown adults still hate the taste.

I, on the other hand, was introduced to alcohol at the age of 30 and have never looked back. In no time I had turned into a fully fledged alcoholic.

Shaida Van Helfteren, Corwen, United Kingdom

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:37 GMT 10:37 UK

It should be priced fairly by the sellers, but supermarkets should be banned from using it as a loss leader. Their predatory selling was a contributing factor in the failure of Threshers

Whenever I go to the supermarket you will always see people who haven't bought for taste but because it's on special.

On the lager front, I will not buy this mass produced gassy rubbish, so it would not affect me

Andrew Macdonald, Woodford Green, United Kingdom

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:32 GMT 10:32 UK

This is only really appropriate for the alcohol for sale in supermarkets, where most people who get tanked up before they go out buy their alcohol from. The problem is the govt will create about 20000 new civil servents to monitor this.

I like someones previoius comment about 'drunk' insurance, to pay for the hospital care.

Matthew, weymouth

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:29 GMT 10:29 UK

Rudimentary mathematics shows that this would hardly affect normal drinking at all.

A pint of beer is maybe 3 units so so that would make the minimum price of a pint £1.50. That is about half the price we pay now.

So nothing would change.

This is just a piece of spin to make it appear that the government wish to help when in fact they cre nothing for us and only wnat to keep their noses int he trough.

[dkintheuk], Reading, United Kingdom

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:21 GMT 10:21 UK

Drinking alcohol is not a problem; being drunk is. Punish drunkenness on the street by making the police take them into custody and giving them huge fines (in the £1000s).

We need to turn public drunkenness into a shamer.

Severus Snape, United Kingdom

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:17 GMT 10:17 UK

Shouls there be a minimum cost for a measure of alcohol ? Definately not . That would merely punish us all and there would be a return to cross channel journets .

Johnbournemouth, Bournemouth

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:17 GMT 10:17 UK

Ever heard of a "blind pig"? This was the name given to the bootleg gin parlours in the US during prohibition. The home-made alcohol made people go blind.

Happy with that, do-gooders?

Cranston Snerd

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:13 GMT 10:13 UK

This is another Gov Approach to make money - nothing more - nothing less. Motorist are set to penalised again to pay for victims. Laws passed in this country against drinking and other petty crimes and misbehaviour punish everyone in the UK for the acts of a few - and so it goes on and on does it not? The blanket apporach to implementing leglisation to get everyone covered for the acts and misbehaviour of the few is Government policy in the Country. Situation - no change with this one.

william, Ballymena

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:07 GMT 10:07 UK

I've just scanned 40 pages in here and there's no mention of the problems in Scandanavian countries with high alcohol pricing.

The main one is a massive increase in homebrewed alcohol, especially high alcohol vodka-style products, which are extremely simple to produce, then add a cola etc mixer to kill the taste.

I had some swedish chaps stay with me years ago who actually smuggled their ownbrew vodka INTO the UK so that they didn't need to bother with buying any local products.

ady, edinburgh

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:07 GMT 10:07 UK

Yet again another Tax for something that won't work. Binge drinkers will still find the money- the crime rates will probably go up because more people will have to steal for money, or steal the alcohol. We'll end up paying more for those who are alcoholics becasue 'they need the booze' but it costs more.

Another stupis silly idea from our goverment...GREAT...lets think of an issue to side track the important ones.

Amelia, St Albans

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:00 GMT 10:00 UK

Excellent plan, but how much of this 50p will go to the long suffering land lords, who will be hit by yet another reason for people not to go to the pub, nd how much will go to out money grabbing government.

Ben Lewis, Liverpool

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 10:00 GMT 10:00 UK

Putting a minimum price on alcohol will do nothing to combat binge drinking, If people want to drink then they will no matter what the price. The only people this will affect is the likes of myself who cannot afford to go drinking in pubs/clubs and enjoy the occasional drink in the house. I think the government has realised they have lost so much revenue from pubs/clubs since introducing the smoking ban and the heavy tax increases on alcohol that they need to get this money back from somewhere.

Robert Houston, Chester, United Kingdom

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 09:59 GMT 09:59 UK

Alochol should have a maximum price; it is over-priced and over-taxed.

Karen, London

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Added: Sunday, 10 January, 2010, 09:47 GMT 09:47 UK

Setting a 50p minimum price for a unit of alcohol is fairly pointless.

The alcohol problems in this country are cultural anyway - I don't know what the answer to that is but unless alcohol prices are raised significantly (making it £10 a pint for example), I'm prepared to bet it has little effect on our drunken society.

And why should the moderate drinker be hit in the pocket because of the louts? Typical of this government to punish the many for the actions of the few.

[HughDP], Taunton, United Kingdom

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DEBATE STATUS

Total comments:
2520
Published comments:
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Rejected comments:
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