Belfast Telegraph

Booze price limit move welcomed by doctors

By David Young

Introducing a minimum price for alcohol in Northern Ireland will help shift harmful drinking patterns in the region, doctors' leaders have said.

The British Medical Association (MBA) has welcomed proposals outlined by Stormont Health Minister Jim Wells to crack down on binge drinking.

The plan to set a price under which alcohol cannot be sold is due to go out for public consultation.

Paul Darragh, from the BMA's Board of Science, said: "There needs to be a fundamental shift in consumption patterns to tackle alcohol-related disease and an ever-increasing body of evidence demonstrates that minimum unit pricing will make a significant contribution toward achieving that goal."

But some retailers criticised the plan, claiming it will unfairly impact responsible drinkers.

Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Irish Retail Consortium, said: "Most major retailers believe minimum pricing of alcohol is unfair to responsible consumers and the wrong approach to tackling excessive consumption. It will simply penalise the vast majority of consumers who already drink less than the Government's recommended limits."

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