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Lib Dems blame cheap alcohol as liver disease increases

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The Liberal Democrats have hit out at 'pocket money prices' as the number of people needing new livers due to alcohol misuse increases significantly

Around 1,300 patients with alcoholic liver disease have received new livers since 1997/98 - 18% of the total number of patients benefiting from the transplants.

In the last decade, according to statistics released by health minister Ann Keen, the number of transplant cases as a result of alcohol damage has risen from 94 to 151.

Don Foster, Liberal Democrat culture spokesman, blamed the 61% increase on the country's 'binge-drinking culture' and called for a cost increase for the cheapest forms of alcohol, to stop it being sold at 'pocket money prices'.

Mr Foster said: 'These figures are a stark warning about the impact alcohol is having on health services in this country. Britain's binge-drinking culture is causing serious long-term health problems for an ever-increasing number of people.

'This Government has made endless pronouncements about tackling alcohol misuse but has failed to take any real action. Ministers are sitting on their hands while irresponsible retailers continue to sell alcohol at pocket money prices.'

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