Party People and Binge Drinking

The introduction of a minimum price per unit would need to be part of a broader range of measures aimed at tackling binge drinking

This afternoon I was over at 4 Millbank to record this week’s edition of Party People, the ITV late night politics chat. This week the discussion turned to binge drinking and the forthcoming health select committee report that is expected to recommend a minimum unit price for alcohol. This is a pretty blunt instrument, but if it were to be introduced it would need to be as part of a wider attempt at tackling binge drinking. Supermarkets selling alcohol at a loss to encourage more people to go to the supermarket  should not be allowed.  We need to look at the licensing laws which have encouraged later hours in most bars, as well as tackling street drinking. And personally I would like to see changes to the taxation system to encourage a move away from stronger beers and wines, and giving an incentive to brewers to shift the emphasise from strength to taste. Yesterday I was told of a beer available at a beer festival that was 40% by volume, the same strength as most spirits, 10 times stronger than most beers. This is simply ridiculous, and I’m sure that it can’t taste too good either!

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