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Joanne Good

Joanne Good supports action on cheap alcohol


Balance calls for minimum unit price for alcohol (MUP) in England

Following a record year in 2020 for alcohol deaths, North East campaigners are calling on the Government to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol in England, as a new study shows that the policy is having a lasting impact on some of the heaviest-drinking households in Scotland and Wales.

Balance has welcomed the study led by researchers from Newcastle University and published in The Lancet Public Health which shows a minimum unit price (MUP) policy for alcohol introduced in Scotland in 2018 continues to have a positive impact more than two years on.

The study also found that a more-recently introduced MUP policy for Wales has had a similar impact on heavier drinking households – despite the policy being launched in March 2020 at the start of a national Covid-19 lockdown period, where many adults were reportedly drinking more at home. The greatest reductions overall were seen in the purchase of ciders and spirits.

Currently it is possible in England to buy 2.5 litres of 7.5% cider for £3.70 – the equivalent of 19 shots of vodka.

The findings come as the North East continues to experience some of the worst alcohol-related harms in the country, with alcohol estimated to cost the region more than £1bn each year. Alcohol deaths rose by around 20.5% in the North East in 2020 from 16.6 per 100,000 people in 2019 to 20.0 per 100,000 people.

Sue Taylor, Acting Head of Alcohol Policy for Balance and Fresh, said: “This important new evidence shows the real impact minimum unit pricing in Scotland and Wales is having on people’s lives."

North Tyneside mum Joanne Good, whose daughter Megan tragically died in her sleep after drinking strong white cider at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, is also backing the calls to introduce MUP in England.

Joanne said: “Alcohol is too cheap and far too often ends up in the hands of children. I fully support any measure that increases the price of cheap alcohol and helps the young and vulnerable. I know the impact cheap, strong alcohol can have on people’s lives, because it has devastated ours. My beautiful daughter Megan didn’t wake up after she drank alcohol at a party, and I never want anyone else to go through that."

Read more here.