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Minimum booze price on Hyndburn councillors' agenda

Councillors are set to vote on controversial plans by the government to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol.

BOOZING: Hyndburn Council is to discuss minimum pricing

Councillors are set to vote on controversial plans by the government to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol.

The government is proposing a minimum price of 50p per unit in England and Wales to cut binge-drinking culture.

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said bringing the issue to debate at full council was important.

He said: "Of course alcoholism is a major issue in the borough, but it’s whether this will address it or not.

"I can see the pros, but by setting a minimum alcohol price will it actually stop what is happening or simply make people turn to other substances?

"It’s something that we are open minded about and waiting to see the arguments.

"One of the concerns is if minimum alcohol pricing would simply end up with supermarkets making that windfall. If prices are increased that increase should be invested within the NHS to address alcoholism."

Conservative Coun Brian Roberts said he supported the proposals.

He said: "I think it’s a good idea to introduce minimum pricing, particularly for supermarkets. They sell alcohol too cheaply and it will make a difference, especially for things like strong cider.

"It won’t really affect the pubs as they have been hit hard in recent years and it might help them to compete."

At a council cabinet meeting on Wednesday, September 5 councillors voted to refer the issue to full council for discussion.

The council will decide whether the borough will back or oppose the plans on Thursday, September 20.

The discussion comes in the wake of news that the average Hyndburn man loses more than a year of his life as a result of drinking.

The Observer revealed last week the borough is among the worst in the north west with men dying on average 13 months earlier than they should.

Hyndburn is also the fourth worst in the region for alcohol related transport deaths and has higher than average number of hospital admissions for drunk under 18s.

And in our Teen Streets campaign last month we revealed that 200 youngsters were spoken to by the Community Alcohol Network on the streets of Hyndburn in a single night in a bid to tackle under age drinking and children putting themselves at risk through alcohol.

 

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