Amid fears of the Prime Minister “backtracking” on his promise to introduce a minimum alcohol price, the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) has invited David Cameron to see the damage caused by alcohol first-hand.
Government sources have suggested the plan to implement a 45p per unit minimum price will not go ahead because several ministers do not back the plan.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who had previously supported the proposals, was urged not to “falter at this late stage” in a letter from the AHA.
AHA chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said: ‘We urge the government to stand firm on minimum unit price in the confidence that the evidence gets stronger, and the support base wider, for this policy by the day.”
The AHA, which represents all major medical and nursing organisations put together an e-petition to demonstrate that doctors, nurses and the public back minimum unit pricing (MUP).
The AHA says a minimum unit price “will have the greatest impact on the heaviest drinkers and families devastated by alcoholism, but with minimal impact on moderate drinkers”.
Chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) Council, Dr Mark Porter, said: “The Prime Minister has a once in a lifetime opportunity to put health and lives first. We sincerely hope he has the courage to do this.”
The government’s consultation started in November last year with the aim of cutting down “binge drinking” culture.
Wine and Spirit Trade Association interim chief executive Gavin Partington said a MUP would do nothing to change the “root cause” of binge drinking.
“There is no evidence to prove that minimum unit pricing will tackle alcohol misuse - in fact the international evidence suggests that problem drinkers are least likely to be deterred by price rises,” he said.