Diana Johnson MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister, said in response to today’s calls from health groups and campaigners for a UK-wide minimum alcohol price:
“We need action to tackle binge drinking without penalising the majority of people who drink responsibly. Binge drinking is a serious problem that increases crime and anti-social behaviour and puts considerable pressure on the NHS, but the Government is dragging its feet.
“We support a minimum unit price where it prevents too low supermarket prices whilst protecting responsible pubs. The debate about levels needs to be based on evidence of what will work, yet the Home Office’s consultation has only considered one potential price level of 45p. The Government needs to make sure it does not just create a cash windfall for the supermarkets, instead of lowering prices of other goods or supporting better prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse to cut crime further and save lives.
“Minimum pricing is not the only area where there has been a lack of action, the Government has reversed the last Labour Government’s plans to make alcohol education compulsory in schools. The strategy promised to reform licensing, yet the Government haven’t taken up Labour’s plans to make public health a licensing condition.
“Labour will back serious moves to tackle the harm and costs of excessive alcohol consumption, but the Government has failed to deliver.”<div>