NI to consider minimum pricing

04 February, 2011

Northern Ireland has become the latest part of the UK to propose a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Social development minister Alex Attwood and health minister Michael McGimpsey are to launch a joint ­consultation on the measure within “a few weeks”.

Attwood said he had become convinced that minimum unit pricing would be a “big step in helping address alcohol misuse” after a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP health minister who tried unsuccessfully to introduce minimum pricing in Scotland last year.

Attwood added that talks were being held this week with the Dublin government over the impact such a move could have on reducing cross-border shopping between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Central Statistics & Research figures suggest people from the south spend £356 million a year in the north, with 44% of visitors buying alcohol.

“This initiative, together with proposals and new laws on irresponsible alcohol promotions will be important steps forward in dealing with the use and abuse of alcohol,” Attwood said.

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