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Minimum Alcohol Pricing Plans to be revealed by Welsh Government

July 15, 2015
Public Health

Plans for minimum alcohol pricing will be put before the Welsh parliament today. The draft Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill will be open for consultation until December.

Research has shown that setting a minimum charge of 50p per unit of alcohol would be effective in reducing consumption and could save the economy nearly £900m over 20 years. It is also claimed that crime in Wales could fall by an estimated 3,700 offences a year and workplace absence would be reduced by 10,000 days a year.

Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething said “In 2013, there were 467 alcohol-related deaths in Wales. Each of these deaths was preventable. Minimum unit pricing will affect those drinks sold at an unacceptably low prices relative to their alcohol content, this is a particularly well-targeted measure as it will only have a small impact on moderate drinkers and have the biggest impact on high-risk drinkers.”

Alcohol misuse is estimated to cost NHS Wales approximately £109 million a year in hospital admissions alone, while the recent Health Wales survey found that 40% of adults admitted to drinking levels above recommended guidelines on at least one day a week. Minimum pricing had been subject to a previous consultation as part of the Welsh Public Health bill, but the subject will now be covered by a stand-alone bill to avoid possible delays from any EU judgement on wider health issues.