Price hike bid to end drink binges

Booze on supermarket shelves
Booze on supermarket shelves
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BINGE drinkers causing mayhem on the resort’s streets will be the focus of a Government price hike on booze.

Ministers are set to introduce a minimum alcohol price of 45p to crackdown on irresponsible drinkers after more than a million crimes and 1.2m hospital admissions were linked to alcohol last year in the UK.

The ban on cheap multi-buy deals will not apply to pubs, clubs and restaurants but is aimed at curbing binge drinking and “pre-loading”, when people drink at home before going out .

But Craig Southall, chairman of Blackpool’s Pubwatch, said: “It’s a bad idea.

“In the short term it’s fantastic because all of a sudden a three litre bottle of cider is going to go up to a proper price rather than stay at £2.

“There’s also the argument that people won’t pre-load before going out, but average Joe is going to be paying out extra because of other people’s alcohol consumption. This 45p is just a starting point and next year it will be 55p, 65p the year after, and we are all going to be affected by this.”

Coun Henry Mitchell, former chairman of licensing on Blackpool Council, has backed the plans.

He said: “I have been saying for years we need to do something about the supermarket sales of alcohol, because people get tanked up on cheap booze before they go out.

“There used to be a cut off point for sales, but now supermarkets can sell alcohol round the clock, and it is making matters worse.”

Dave Daly, North West chairman of Licensees Unite, says it is good news for the pub industry. He said: “People will go to pubs rather than stay at home and drink and it will sober up the binge drinkers.

“It comes at a cost for people who drink moderately, but as an industry we’ve been fighting this for three years and it’s great news.”

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