Northumberland alcohol pricing recommendations

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Minimum unit pricing is the most effective price-related measure for reducing harm from alcohol and anti-social behaviour, according to a county council report.

Following a recent debate on the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, a report from Northumberland County Council’s communities and place overview and scrutiny committee has made recommendations to next Wednesday’s meeting of the executive.

One is that they ‘agree in principle that a minimum unit price is the most effective of available price-related strategy options for reducing alcohol related harm and anti-social behaviour’.

The debate on minimum unit pricing took place last month and was attended by around 50 people, including town and parish council representatives, county councillors, representatives from other North East authorities and members of the public, while views from supermarkets, pubs and drinks associations were also shared.

The report to the executive concludes: “Although strong support for a minimum unit price for alcohol in England was voiced at the meeting, it was recognised that there is no simple solution to alcohol misuse.

“Tackling cheap drinks is one important tool but focussing solely on making alcohol less affordable will fail to address the root causes of excessive drinking, anti-social behaviour and risks to health.

“Minimum unit pricing, if introduced, needs to be part of a package of solutions in order to save lives, cut crime, help the economy and improve quality of life for our residents.

“There was strong support for parents accepting responsibility for reducing the availability of alcohol to young people and children within the home and teaching them about the harms of alcohol abuse.

“Apart from the obvious child protection issues, this may go some way to reducing incidents for the police, the ambulance service, hospital admissions and anti-social behaviour in the community.”