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Minimum alcohol price policy announced

  • 5 Comments

Manchester city centre could be the first in the country to set a minimum price for the sale of alcohol, it has been announced.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) Health Commission hopes to create a by-law that will make it illegal to sell alcohol for less than 50p per unit in shops and bars across the region.

It would mean that drinkers would have to pay at least £6 for a six-pack of lager, £4.50 for a standard bottle of wine, £5.50 for a two-litre bottle of cider and £14 for a 700ml bottle of whisky.

The plans are designed to cut down on excessive drinking and improve health in the area but there are fears that it could lead to people going to neighbouring counties to buy cheap alcohol in bulk.

The 10 council chiefs that make up the AGMA will now draw up details of how the by-law could be implemented across the region.

Ian Ratcliffe from Stockport Council said plans would take into consideration the effect of alcohol on public health as well as the environment.

He said: “Putting together a model for a by-law is a very complex issue.

“It may be a good idea but there are obviously so many difficult aspects to it so what the AGMA have decided is for someone to go away and look at how it could be done and they will consider a report in October.”

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Readers' comments (5)

  • Seems like a good initiative, though it will take some working out. Hopefully, a model will be developed which can be applied in towns and cites throughout the country.

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  • Another bunch of ejits trying to make a name for themselves!

    Alcohol will always be available, whether in nice unit indicated bottles or as home brew with no real measure of alcohol content.

    Hicking prices and affecting the millions of sensible drinkers is not the solution, beter education and dealing with core socio-economic issues is the way forward.

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  • At last. Should be higher than 50p a unit though, and should have a higher price on tobacco.

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  • AGMA, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities is proposing
    to put in place unit pricing of alcohol, with a minimum price per unit
    of 50p .... to see how this would affect you, multiply the number of
    units shown on the can or bottle of beer that you are drinking and that
    will give you the AGMA proposed minimum price ... as a guide, it would
    increase the supermarket price of an average can of beer to
    approximately £1.00.

    When this comes into force you would have a permanent two tier
    pricing structure with higher prices for similar products in Greater
    Manchester (GM) than its’ neighbours.

    So, what effect are higher GM prices likely to have on the local GM
    economy? In a word .. disastrous.

    A crystal clear picture of what would happen was shown next door in
    Ireland (ROI). in 2009 .. where a short term price increase in alcohol
    brought about by Sterling decreasing in value against the Euro , caused prices for
    similar products in the Irish Republic (ROI) to increase markedly above
    those in Northern Ireland (NI) .... and the result?

    The Irish Times Online dated 26th October 2009
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1026/1224257456822.html reported

    “..There has also been a major increase in cross-Border alcohol
    shopping, the latest figures from market research firm Nielsen Ireland
    show. Off-licence sales in the North (NI) have risen by 30 per cent in
    the year to August, while off-sales in the South are down by 7 per
    cent...”

    “Both drinks industry and retail groups have estimated that
    cross-Border shopping has cost the Irish (ROI) exchequer €400 million
    in lost revenue this year. This figure is set to increase in advance of
    Christmas as thousands more shoppers will understandably choose to shop
    in Northern Ireland (NI), in particular should the rate of sterling
    continue its present decline against the euro.

    “The consequences for jobs and revenue, particularly in the Border
    region, are profound. Our industry supports 90,000 jobs across bars,
    restaurants, manufacturing and supply. Many of these will be at risk as
    a direct consequence of cross-Border shopping.”

    The Irish alcohol price situation was a temporary phenomenon caused by
    currency fluctuations ... a fixed minimum unit price for alcohol in GM
    would be a permanent change.

    If you scale the GM population figure (2.5m. AGMA Policy Unit) to that
    of ROI (4.5m CSO Ireland April 2009), the equivalent job losses in GM
    across bars, restaurants, manufacturing and supply would be 50,000
    jobs.

    Everyone would accept the former Chief Medical Officer’s view that
    there is a serious alcohol problem in health ... but
    the Irish alcohol price experience demonstrates that a marked price
    difference in alcohol doesn’t actually reduce consumption ... it merely
    shifts it elsewhere and that is exactly what would happen in Greater
    Manchester if a unit pricing system was introduced.

    If you disagree with the AGMA minimum price proposal, demand a local referendum
    and make your voice heard and you can do
    just this at Say NO to AGMA Alcohol Price Increase
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/agma

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  • What a great idea , this will not effect sensible drinkers at all, its time we stopped seeing drunken behaviour as acceptable and stop letting supermarkets rule our lives.

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