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Alcohol harms in the spotlight


Pocket Money Prices for Alcohol continue 1 Year On

Just days before the UK Supreme Court hears a case to decide whether introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol is legal, a survey published today shows that cheap, strong alcohol continues to be sold for pocket money prices in the North East.
One year ago, a survey of alcohol prices across the UK found an abundance of cheap drinks being sold in shops and supermarkets, with high-strength cider available at the lowest prices.
A follow up review carried out this month in England, Scotland and Wales has found that these cheap prices remain largely unchanged, with products across the market still falling well below the 50p per unit mark recommended by health and alcohol bodies.
The price review was carried out in the North East by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, in partnership with the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), a group of medical royal colleges, alcohol organisations and health bodies. 
In this year’s review, Balance found that cider continued to be sold at the lowest prices overall, with 3-litre bottles of 7.5% ABV cider (containing the equivalent of 22 shots of vodka) costing just £3.59 in 2017 – the equivalent of 16p per unit. This is 2p cheaper than cider found in the region last year at 18p per unit. 
At that price, for the cost of a small latte in Starbucks, it is possible to buy more alcohol than the weekly recommended limit of alcohol.
In the North East, the cheapest wine surveyed this year was found to be even cheaper than in 2016, down 2p to 36p per unit. Vodka was also found to be available in the region for less than 40p per unit. 
Cheap, high-strength alcohol is known to be predominantly drunk by the most vulnerable groups, including children and the homeless, and a minimum unit price for alcohol of 50p per unit was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, only to be held up by a legal challenge from sections of the alcohol industry. The Welsh government recently announced it will legislate for minimum unit pricing, and the Northern Ireland Executive has also expressed its desire to implement the policy.

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