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Call for minimum 60p alcohol price

Public health experts have called for the lowest selling price of alcohol to be 60 p per unit in an effort to curb binge drinking.

Such calls from the medical community, including the British Medical Association (BMA), have previously been resisted by the government in England.

Likewise, proposed legislation by the Scottish Government to bring in minimum pricing has been met with a similar response from rival parties strongly opposing the move.

A survey of 205 public health experts for the UK Faculty of Public Health, found 87% were in support of introducing a law to set a minimum price for alcohol.

Almost six in 10 (59%) were in favour of raising the price to 60p per unit, while 35% thought 50p was appropriate and 5% thought 40p a unit was sufficient.

In January, the government's chief medical officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, called for a minimum price of 50p to be set.

He said substantial effects would be seen immediately in England, including 3,393 fewer deaths each year, 97,900 fewer hospital admissions and 45,800 fewer crimes.

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown distanced himself from Sir Liam's comments, saying the government did not wish to punish the majority of sensible drinkers.

President of the faculty, Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, said: "We need to set a minimum unit price that's high enough to deter heavy binge drinkers without hitting too hard the much greater number of people who drink sensibly and moderately."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

UK Faculty of Public Health

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"60 per unit is ridiculous, people need to take a more mature attitude like many of the Europeans - moderation!" - Name and address supplied