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Suffolk brewer welcomes new alcohol minimum pricing law in Wales, and calls for England to follow suit

PUBLISHED: 07:11 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 20 June 2018

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL. The Welsh Government has passed a new law introducing a minimum price for alcohol Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/PA WIRE

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL. The Welsh Government has passed a new law introducing a minimum price for alcohol Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/PA WIRE

A Suffolk brewer and pubs owner has welcomed a decision by the Welsh National Assembly to introduce a new law raising the cost of cheap, strong alcohol and urged the Westminster government to follow its lead.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King Picture: ADAM SMYTHRooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King Picture: ADAM SMYTH

An East Anglian brewer and pubs owner has called for minimum alcohol pricing to be introduced across the country.

It follows a decision by the Welsh National Assembly to introduce a new law raising the cost of cheap, strong alcohol.

Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King has called for Westminster to follow its lead, arguing that the legal requirement for a minimum price for alcohol would benefit communities without hitting responsible drinkers.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “Greene King welcomes the passing of the bill in the Welsh Assembly. We have for a long time made the case for introducing Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) in order to reduce the health risks associated with harmful drinking and its detrimental impact on society.

“The potential benefits of MUP are clear. This policy will restrict the availability of cheap, high strength, alcohol which has been causing the most damage to communities across Wales, without impacting moderate drinkers who can continue to enjoy a drink responsibly.

“We urge the UK government to look again at MUP and examine how to implement this policy and reduce high risk drinking in England in the near future.”

The bill is part of the Welsh government’s wider efforts to reduce excessive drinking, recognising the impact it can have on people’s health and well-being.

The new law will address longstanding and specific health concerns around the effects of excess alcohol consumption.

It is estimated to lead to nearly 55,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions a year, costing the Welsh NHS more than £150m annually.

The level of the minimum unit price will be set in regulations made by the Welsh Ministers following a consultation this year, ahead of an expected introduction in summer 2019.

In Scotland, a similar act was passed in June 2012 and began in May this year after the supreme court ruled it did not breach European law, setting the minimum unit price at 50p. That meant a 70cl bottle of whisky had a minimum price of £14 and a bottle of wine must be over £4.50.

In May, junior health minister Steve Brine told the House of Commons that a minimum unit price was back under consideration by government, five years after it was last rejected, and he had asked Public Health England to undertake a review of the evidence.

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