I recently received a circular from Balance North East regarding the proposed 50p per unit minimum pricing for alcohol. Whatever your views about the proposal, this circular shows some seriously misleading figures.
They claim that the extra cost per person per week will be ‘only 28p’.
Using prices taken from leaflets from local supermarkets, this figure will be substantially higher.
A pack of 15 cans of strong lager is currently available for £6.99, which equates to a cost of approximately 20p per unit (a bit less than the 91p per unit that Balance claims). A bottle of reasonable wine can be bought for £3.50, which is about 39p per unit. Their brochure gives current prices of 32p per unit for vodka and 12p per unit for cider.
If a minimum unit cost of 50p is introduced, the weekly cost for a person drinking no more than the NHS guideline of 21 units would increase by £6.30 (90 per cent) for a beer drinker, £2.31 (66 per cent) for a wine drinker, £3.78 (46 per cent) for a spirit drinker and a massive £7.98 (431 per cent) for a cider drinker.
A little bit more than the 28p quoted by Balance North East.
I accept that there is a problem with under-age drinking in this country, but I believe it would be better to enforce the existing laws than penalise responsible adults who may not be able to afford these increases.
A report in your paper last week said that police had been confiscating alcohol from under-age drinkers and pouring it away. What kind of deterrent is that? Why not give the parents a formal warning that their children have been caught breaking the law? Most responsible parents would be horrified and would make sure that their kids were not caught again.