Belfast Telegraph

Alcohol on sale for as little as 15.5p per unit, snapshot study shows

A charity has renewed calls for minimum unit pricing for alcohol after a snapshot study found the recommended 14 units a week can be bought for little over £2.

Alcohol Concern's survey of supermarkets and off-licences in six towns and cities across Wales found alcohol on sale for as little as 15.5p per unit and "numerous" examples of units available for under 50p.

It means that 14 units - the maximum that men and women should stick to per week under NHS drinking guidelines published in January - can be bought for £2.17.

The charity said the January snapshot, although small, found a total of 113 different alcoholic drinks including ciders, beers, wines and spirits on sale for under 50p per unit.

The results showed the extent to which cheap alcohol is available on high streets and emphasised the need for a minimum unit price for alcohol, it said.

Mark Leyshon, from Alcohol Concern Cymru, said: "Our study shows that minimum unit pricing is as relevant as ever. As the leading cause of death for men and women aged 18 to 49 years, the health harms caused by alcohol remain one of the biggest problems facing Britain.

"Many of these illnesses and injuries are linked to cheap alcohol sold in the off-trade - in supermarkets and off-licences - at prices far below those in pubs.

"Typically, it's heavy drinkers who favour low-price alcohol, meaning that it is the cheapest alcohol on the market that is bought and consumed in the greatest quantities and which caused the greatest harm.

"Introducing a minimum unit price would bring a significant reduction in alcohol harms by changing the drinking behaviours of this group without penalising moderate drinkers. It's high time to get minimum unit pricing on the statute book for the benefit of all of us."