Landlord backs booze price increase

A publican today backed a proposed 50p per unit minimum price on alcohol - which could benefit the town's struggling pubs by pushing up supermarket prices.

Hollie-Rae Merrick

IPSWICH: A publican today backed a proposed 50p per unit minimum price on alcohol - which could benefit the town's struggling pubs by pushing up supermarket prices.

Shaun Silva, president of Ipswich Bar Watch and landlord of the Brewers Arms in Orford Street, said the increase in unit prices would curb under-age drinking.

He said: “I think it would be a great idea for this to be enforced, as it would definitely cut down the trend of alcoholism.

“Currently, it is far too easy for children to get hold of alcohol. This could be brought to a stop by raising prices in supermarkets.

“The proposals would help in the war against under-age drinking and also help the position of struggling pubs.”

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MPs on the House of Commons health select committee published a report which said a 50p per unit minimum would save 3,000 alcohol-related deaths every year.

The change would mean the minimum price charge for a bottle of wine would be around �4.50.

The price restrictions would also mean that a 700ml bottle of spirits would come in at around �14 - at least double what some supermarkets currently charge for their cheapest beverages.

But it is still unclear whether minimum pricing would be supported by the government, having been criticised by both Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Conservative party.

Public health minister Gillian Merron said the Department for Health would use the report “to strengthen and further develop the action we already have under way”.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said the need for action on alcohol misuse was clear but said minimum pricing was not the solution.

He added: “Penalising the many who drink responsibly in order to constrain a minority will not succeed in tackling this complex challenge.”

Do you think the proposals for a 50p per unit minimum price on alcohol should go ahead? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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