The Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) today urges the government to stand firm on its commitment to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol (MUP).
The group of leading health organisations argues that in recent months the evidence to support MUP has strengthened, and the breadth of public and professional backing for the policy has widened.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the AHA and Royal College of Physicians special adviser on alcohol, said:
We congratulate the government for looking at the strong evidence to support MUP and proposing to introduce this targeted policy that promises to save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of crimes.
Since the government announced its proposals in March, the evidence for MUP has strengthened and the support-base for this crucial policy has widened. We have now seen real-life results from Canada that indicate a 10% increase in the minimum price of some drinks led to a 33% decrease in wholly alcohol related deaths.
The last few weeks have seen a number of major health reports showing Britain faces an enormous burden from alcohol. With death rates from liver disease rising by 65% over the past 20 years, the Government cannot afford to do nothing. Doctors, the police, emergency services and leading children’s charities all publically endorse MUP, and recent public opinion polls show the majority of people support tough action on alcohol too.
Sections of the drinks industry have also come out in favour of MUP, as major brewers concur with the majority of pub landlords, that MUP will help local pubs that are being undercut by cheap drink sold in supermarkets. The only opposing force that has emerged against MUP in recent times has been a high profile, well-funded campaign led by the global alcohol producers. This is a group with a clear interest in prioritising profits over public health.
We urge the government to stand firm on MUP in the confidence that the evidence gets stronger, and the support base wider, for this policy by the day.
- Visit the Alcohol Health Alliance section of the RCP website
- The Alcohol Health Alliance is a group of 32 organisations whose mission is to reduce the damage caused to health by alcohol misuse. An additional 40 organisations support a minimum unit price for alcohol.