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Warwickshire DAAT & Coventry Telegraph investigation into some alcohol being cheaper than water support minimum price proposals

Recently Warwickshire DAAT collaborated with the Coventry Telegraph in an investigation to discover how easy it was to buy cheap alcohol and compare the price to water and soft drinks.  Here is some of the Coventry Telegraph article.

Alcohol cheaper than water

Cheap booze is fuelling the region’s unhealthy drinking habits, according to health chiefs who say too many adults in Coventry and Warwickshire are putting themselves at risk by drinking too much.

This ‘bargain booze’ culture has convinced the government it needs to place a minimum price on alcohol.

However, the proposal has met fierce opposition from the British Retail Consortium, which represents shops and supermarkets.

Spokesman Richard Dodd told the Telegraph: “We believe this will be unfair to responsible shoppers.”

He said a minimum price per unit might appeal to some as a straightforward legal change, but would not solve the problem.

More people now drank within safe limits and they should not be penalised for a “minority” of irresponsible drinkers, he said.

Price wars mean the cost of alcohol has dropped 40 per cent in real terms over 20 years.

The Telegraph set out to see how cheap it could buy booze – and found some stores selling it cheaper than water and soft drinks.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisions all sold four cans of lager for £1. That is just 57pence per litre.

The same supermarkets sold 750ml bottles of water for up to 85pence.

That is £1.13 per litre – twice as much as their bargain booze.

We also found two litres of cider for £1.99, wine for as little as £2 and a large bottle of rum for just £5.15.

Yet a half litre bottle of Coco-Cola cost £1.19 (£2.28 per litre).

 Even remote village stores sell branded alcohol cheaper than soft drinks

 It is not just supermarkets who sell alcohol at discounted rates.

 The Coventry Telegraph enlisted the help of the community safety team at Warwickshire County Council, who carried out a wider survey.

It found brands such as Carlsberg, Fosters and Strongbow were repeatedly sold cheaper than soft drinks – even in remote village stores.

Manager Paul Hooper said: “When it’s cheaper to buy alcohol than water you have to ask what kind of message we are sending.

“If we don’t increase prices, we will all end up paying more in taxes to cover the health and community costs of excessive drinking.”

The government has proposed a minimum price of 45pence per unit, plus restrictions on “irresponsible” drinks promotions.

Community safety teams in Coventry and Warwickshire support the idea as part of a wider strategy to cut high levels of harmful drinking.


Also in the news this week….

New study supports minimum price proposals

A minimum price has been backed by the British Medical Association and a Canadian study recently found it cut the number of deaths.

 The government has proposed a minimum price of 45pence per unit

Research recently published in Canada has linked the introduction of minimum pricing with a significant decrease in alcohol-related deaths.

The findings published in the journal of Addiction were welcomed by health campaigners.

The Scottish government’s plans to introduce a minimum unit price are on hold pending a court challenge.

The researchers said a rise in alcohol prices of 10% would lead to a 32% reduction in alcohol-related deaths.

The Canadian study was carried out between 2002 and 2009 in British Columbia, where alcohol could only be sold directly to the public in government-owned stores.

It suggests that, when drink prices rose, there were “immediate, substantial and significant reductions” in deaths wholly attributable to alcohol abuse.

The authors suggest increasing the price of cheaper drinks reduces the consumption of heavier drinkers who prefer them.


About Paul Hooper, WCC (575 Articles)
Group Manager: Community Safety and Substance Misuse
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