Recommendations made by the Council in its 2007 report 'Public health: ethical issues' have been strengthened today by a call from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the Government to address the problem of alcohol harm by introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

The Council concluded in 2007 that the Government has an ethical responsibility to do more to address the harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption and that measures which have been found to be effective in reducing consumption, such as increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages and restricting hours of sale, should be implemented.

alcohol bottles for web

The new guidance from NICE ‘Alcohol-use disorders: preventing harmful drinking’, states that “making alcohol less affordable is the most effective way of reducing alcohol-related harm”. NICE also urges policy makers to review legislation on alcohol licensing and consider a complete alcohol advertising ban.

Meanwhile, the Government has already outlined its proposals for changing legislation on alcohol. In the Queen’s speech it was announced that the sale of below cost price alcohol will be banned. And in the coalition document published soon after the election, the Government also committed to:
  • review alcohol taxation and pricing to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries

  • overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems

  • allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children

  • double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000

Whilst these proposals are in line with the Council’s recommendations for tougher measures on alcohol, we welcome today's recommendation from NICE for the Government to take further action by introducing minimum pricing.

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