A MAJOR bid to end the UK’s binge drinking culture and help lower the number of alcohol related deaths on the Fylde coast have received a boost.
Supermarkets could soon be banned from advertising cheap deals on beer, wine and spirits, while television adverts will also no longer be screened.
The moves are part of the Government’s new alcohol strategy which, although it is still under development, has split opinion on the Fylde coast.
Dave Daley, North West chairman of Licensees Unite and landlord of The Castle pub, on Central Drive, Blackpool, says banning advertisements would make alcohol safer.
He told The Gazette: “The Government needs to get a grip on supermarkets because it is keeping people out of the pubs, which are more safe and responsible places to drink.
“Supermarkets are charging silly cheap prices and people are drinking more because they have no restrictions at all.”
Mr Daley says a ban could also help save jobs.
He added: “If the Chancellor drops the alcohol escalator which sees the price go up each year, it will save 16,000 jobs.
“The people employed in most venues are aged 18 to 25, so it’s a no-brainer for employment among young people. If the Government keep putting alcohol up, community pubs will keep closing.”
But Craig Southall, chairman of Pubwatch in Blackpool, said the scheme is doomed to failure because people will binge drink whatever the price.
He added: “They’ve tried exactly the same in Scotland and it has fallen on its face because supermarkets in the affected areas just put their prices up.
“I don’t think binge drinking is worse now than it has been in the past, but there’s a problem of pre-loading where people buy from supermarkets and drink heavily before going into a pub.”
Mr Southall says more should be done to educate youngsters to stop binge drinking.
He added: “It is not down to the price, I think it’s down to education.
“It would most certainly work if people could go into schools and speak to them about it because it has been going on for years.
“If lessons start at an early age, it would give the Government another option other than pricing supermarkets out of the market.”
Blackpool Council have also supported the move to ban cheap alcohol from the supermarket shelves.
Coun Ivan Taylor, cabinet member for education and health, said: “In general we are concerned about the cheap deals and the effect it is having on alcohol consumption in the borough.
“We have a problem with this in Blackpool, and that is confirmed by the number of deaths we are getting from liver disease and the rising cases of drink-related domestic violence as well.”