Nineteen health experts, including Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, have signed a letter to the Telegraph urging ministers to take action and claiming that alcohol harm costs the country £25 billion a year.
“We urgently need to raise the price of cheap drink. Harmful drinkers and young people are likely to be the most responsive to price increases,” the letter says.
“In particular, we need to narrow the price gap between alcohol in bars and restaurants with alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences, to make bulk discounts and pocket-money prices a thing of the past.
“There is a push towards a minimum price for each unit of alcohol in the devolved nations of the United Kingdom, with the SNP leading the debate in Scotland. This is a simple and effective mechanism for the Scottish government to control alcohol prices. If the coalition is not ready for such bold action, MPs must not lose sight of the importance of taxation as a means not only to lower alcohol consumption but also to direct revenue into the public purse.”
The letter coincides with a debate on alcohol in the House of Commons today.