Today sees the launch of the Government’s new Alcohol Strategy.

Prime Minster David Cameron has announced that a minimum price per unit of alcohol will be set in England and Wales as part of a new government strategy to tackle the problems associated with excessive drinking.

The policy, which is welcomed by leading health experts and academics, has been hailed by Downing Street officials as a ‘radical approach’ to turn the tide against alcohol harm.

In a statement released to the press, the Prime Minister said:

“When beer is cheaper than water, it’s just too easy for people to get drunk on cheap alcohol at home before they even set foot in the pub. So we are going to introduce a new minimum unit price – so for the first time it will be illegal for shops to sell alcohol for less than this set price per unit. We’re consulting on the actual price, but if it is 40p that could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 900 fewer alcohol-related deaths per year by the end of the decade.

“Of course, I know this won’t be universally popular. But the responsibility of being in government isn’t always about doing the popular thing. It’s about doing the right thing.

“Binge drinking is a serious problem. And I make no excuses for clamping down on it.”

The exact price set for a unit of alcohol will be subject to consultation; however, the figure suggested by Downing Street today is around 40p. This is expected to prevent 900 alcohol-related deaths and more than 50,000 alcohol-related crimes each year, according to figures released today.

To see a copy of the press statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister this morning, click here. (pdf 317kb)

To view the full Strategy document click here. (pdf 580kb)