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Changing alcohol pricing could save up to 2000 lives in NE

Written by News

Research conducted by the University of Sheffield reveals that the North East could benefit the most from the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP).

MUP is an initiative that sets a minimum price per unit of alcohol sold. The initiative aims to lower the number of alcohol-related deaths each year, as well as reducing pressure on the NHS. It has already been implemented in Scotland, in 2018, and earlier this month in Wales.

The North East has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the country, 22% higher than the national average.

The North East has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the country, 22% higher than the national average. In 2016, the region accounted for 1424 of the 9214 alcohol-related deaths, according to ITV News.

The research estimates that MUP could prevent just under 2000 deaths attributable to alcohol over the next 20 years in the North East. According to The Guardian, alcohol is estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5b every year. With the introduction of MUP, it predicts that the NHS in this the North East could save up to £8.5m a year. The rate of alcohol consumption in the North East is also estimated to fall by 7.7%.

While there is currently no MUP on alcohol in England, the topic has been debated in parliament for over a decade

Under MUP, retailers must charge at least 50p per unit, which is measured as 10ml of pure alcohol. One unit is equivalent to approximately half a pint of beer or cider, a single shot of spirits or a small glass of wine.

While there is currently no MUP on alcohol in England, the topic has been debated in parliament for over a decade. In 2016, Public Health England conducted a report which gave them the conclusion that “setting a minimum price for alcohol can reduce alcohol-related harm while saving health-care costs.”

Most recently however, the government revealed in July 2019 that it had no plans to introduce MUP.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health for Gateshead has announced that the introduction of MUP would have “the biggest impact on the heaviest at-risk drinkers, while leaving the average moderate drinker virtually untouched”.

Last modified: 18th March 2020

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