Responding to the announcement yesterday by Steve Brine MP on the government’s new alcohol strategy and minimum unit pricing for alcohol, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), said:
‘We are encouraged by the minister’s statement in the House of Commons yesterday that as part of the development of a new alcohol strategy, the government will be commissioning Public Health England to carry out a review of the evidence for minimum unit pricing in England.
‘The development of a new alcohol strategy, and the review on minimum unit pricing, provide a welcome opportunity to put government alcohol policy on a more evidence-based footing.
‘While we have seen some recent falls in alcohol consumption, alcohol-related deaths have increased sharply over the last 2 decades, and dealing with harm is placing increasing pressure on our public services. Dealing with alcohol harm is costing the British economy up to £52 billion every year.
‘To tackle inequalities, help everyone make the most of their life chances, and get the British economy fit for a post-Brexit world, we need a bold, evidence-based approach to tackling the widespread harms caused by alcohol.
‘Minimum unit pricing must be at the heart of this new strategy. A 50p minimum unit price in England is estimated to save 525 lives and prevent 22,000 hospital admissions each year. At the same time, pubs are moderate drinkers will barely notice the difference, and the biggest health gains will be felt by the poorest in society.’