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The high price of cheap booze
RAISING the cost of alcohol by 1% would mean 5,000 fewer assaults in emergency departments every year.
That is one of the more startling claims made in a British Medical Association report on how to reduce alcohol-related problems.
The report says: "There is strong and consistent evidence that alcohol consumption and rates of alcohol-related problems are responsive to price.
"It has been estimated that a 10% increase in alcohol prices in the UK would lead to a 10% fall in consumption.
"Studies have also reported that price increases have the effect of reducing rates of alcohol problems including alcohol-related violence and crime, deaths from liver cirrhosis, and drink-driving deaths."
The report also criticised irresponsible drinks promotions such as two-for-one offers in shops and Happy Hour' in pubs and clubs.
The British Beer and Pub Association has labelled the BMA's report "flawed and flimsy".
Chief executive Rob Hayward said: "High taxes are not the answer. The fact is we already have some of the highest taxes and prices in Europe.
"Yet our alcohol problems and those of all the high tax and high price countries are significantly greater than the low tax and low price countries of Europe.
"Our drinking culture and behaviours have a long history and are deeply embedded - they won't be changed by flicking a tax switch."
Buy the County Gazette on Thursday for a special feature on this subject.