'Strong support' for minimum alcohol prices from Norfolk MP
PUBLISHED: 12:37 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:59 17 May 2019
A Norfolk MP has joined calls for a minimum unit price on alcohol in a bid to reduce harm after hearing about the "devastating" impact on lives.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb attended an Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) parliamentary event which outlines the challenges faced by policymakers seeking to reduce alcohol harm.
Mr Lamb, a former Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, said he was "acutely aware" of the "devastating impact" alcohol can have on lives, and said he strongly supported the introduction of a minimum unit price.
The policy would mean no alcoholic product can be sold at less than 50p per unit of alcohol.
"I am acutely aware that alcohol can, in some circumstances, have a truly devastating effect on individuals," he said.
"I was pleased to attend this reception on parliament, and support calls for targeted, evidence-based programmes that will allow us to reduce alcohol harm.
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"I strongly support the introduction of a minimum unit price."
Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the AHA, added: "The magnitude of the impact of alcohol on our society is truly staggering.
"The forthcoming Prevention green paper provides a great opportunity to reduce these levels of alcohol harm and allow England to catch up with its neighbours.
"We are calling on the government to also introduce minimum unit pricing in England, a policy that can save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of episodes of harm each year, without significant cost to those who consume alcohol in moderation."
AHA figures suggest alcohol contributes to the death of 65 people every day in England alone, is involved in 39pc of all violent crime in England and Wales, and costs NHS England £3.5billion every year.
Minumum pricing was introduced in Scotland last year, and is set to be introduced in Wales and the Republic of Ireland this year - but there are no current plans to bring the policy to England.
The introduction of a minimum price in England is expected to save 525 lives and prevent 22,000 hospital admissions every year.