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Wednesday 28th November 2012 | 15:17
Plaid Cymru press release
Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams has welcomed the Government's 10-week consultation on minimum alcohol pricing but warned that the proposed 45p per unit is too low and will have no meaningful impact on alcohol misuse.
Mr Williams, who has campaigned consistently for the introduction of a minimum price of 50p per unit, as adopted by the Scottish Government earlier this year, said that the Government's proposals would do little to tackle excessive consumption and still leave community pubs unable to compete with the supermarkets.
He added that a 50p per unit minimum - as supported by the Alcohol Health Alliance and the Royal College of Physicians - would make a real difference in targeting the heaviest drinkers while not punishing those who drink responsibly and in moderation.
Mr Williams said:
“While I welcome the long-overdue consultation on minimum alcohol pricing, it is disappointing to see that the Government has failed to adopt a more robust approach to tackling alcohol misuse.
"After years of dragging its heels over this issue I fear that, if implemented, the Coalition's proposed minimum price of 45p per unit would fall short of making a meaningful difference in improving public health and boost small businesses.
"The toxic nature of the cheap drinks market has a negative effect on thousands of lives each year - be that through individuals falling victim to alcohol misuse, or community pub landlords losing business to big supermarkets.
“Plaid Cymru believe that a minimum price of 50p per unit - as supported by leading health experts - would help save lives through cutting back on consumption, prevent alcohol related disorder, and also boost local economies by helping community pubs compete with supermarkets.
“Moderate drinkers would barely notice the difference – certainly when compared to the amount of duty that is already paid to the Government.
“It is therefore frustrating that the Coalition's proposals have been revealed as a feeble climb-down.
“Through the course of the consultation, Plaid Cymru will continue to join health experts in putting pressure on policy-makers to push through robust legislation that will serve the interests of both public health and local economies.”