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Cameron 'set to back minimum alcohol price'

David Cameron will overrule Cabinet colleagues to push through plans setting a minimum price for alcohol, it has been reported.

Officials have been ordered to draw up proposals for a 40-50p unit floor price in English shops and supermarkets, according to the DailyTelegraph.

The move is expected to cost drinkers an additional £700million a year and the extra tax revenue could go to the NHS, the newspaper added.

Minimum pricing has the biggest impact on the cheapest and strongest drinks and earlier this month a group of leading academics and health experts claimed the move would save thousands of lives.

Scotland’s administration is pushing through legislation for a minimum unit price, though Holyrood health secretary Nicola Sturgeon admits it is “almost certain” to meet a legal challenge.

Andrew Lansley has previously warned that such a move would not meet European competition rules. That viewed has been echoed by the business department but the prime minister favours a radical “big bang” approach, according to the Telegraph.

A Whitehall source told the newspaper: “The prime minister has decided that when it comes to alcohol, something pretty radical now has to be done and he is keen onthe minimum price. It is complicated how this can be delivered, particularly under European law, but it is clear that the voluntary approach has not worked.”

A government spokesman said: “The government will continue toreview all available evidence. Our alcohol strategy, which we will set out shortly, will outline what further steps we are taking to tackle this problem. No decisions have been made.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • If true, this is one piece of welcome policy in an otherwise disastrous period of health service management for the governmnent.

    Clearly all that was needed was someone with bottle and leadership (Alex Salmond) to show Dave how it is done.

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  • Martin Rathfelder

    Didn't Lansley claim he wanted to be Minister for Public Health? What has he achieved in that respect?

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  • There are some things that only government can do and in public health that usually means a big role for it. It's good that this government is learning that lesson despite its neoliberal rhetoric about individual lifestyle behaviour change and responsibility deals. In the end it is government action that counts for more. If only Cameron would now listen to many of the same voices calling for an end to the disastrous NHS reorganisation underway. What a New Year resolution that would be.

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  • A very bad turn.

    Hope the Medical & Nonmedical Trade Unions go on strike to stop this turn at the earliest possible.

    We are going in a downward trend.Health of paients is going to be very seriously neglected by
    the 2 tier system in Tertiary,Secondary & Primary care Departments of NHS by those in favour of smoking & drinking and those who are really health coscious.
    The Government must stop import of TOBACCO & ALCOHOL - WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION and like in Nepal punish the offenders and not have the monkey prank of aiding and abetting.

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  • Anon - 10:44 PM
    Have you been on the sauce?

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