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The end of cheap beer and cider in Wales as minimum alcohol price is revealed; The new law is expected to come into force next summer.

Byline: Martin Shipton

A minimum unit price which will end the sale of cheap alcohol in Wales has been announced.

Thenew law specifically targeting strong alcoholis expected to come into force in summer 2019.

The Welsh Government has proposed that is should be set at 50p per unit, the level already set in Scotland.

It will be an offence for alcoholic drinks to be supplied below that price.

It could double the price of supermarket packs of major brands like Strongbow and significantly increase others like Stella Artois.

The government said that more than half of the estimated reduction in consumption would be accounted for by harmful drinkers and there would be minimal impact on moderate drinkers.

Health SecretaryVaughan Gethingsaid: "The ultimate objective of introducing a minimum unit price (MUP) is to tackle alcohol-related harm, including alcohol-attributable hospital admissions and alcohol-related deaths in Wales, by reducing alcohol consumption in hazardous and harmful drinkers.

"In particular, the Act is targeted at protecting the health of hazardous and harmful drinkers, including young people, who tend to consume greater quantities of low-cost and high-alcohol-content products.

"The higher the level of MUP that is chosen, the greater the proportion of purchased alcohol that is captured and the greater the estimated impact on alcohol-related harms.

The terribly sad story of a victim of cheap white cider

"However, there is a trade-off, as there is also a greater impact on moderate drinkers, particularly moderate drinkers in the more deprived groups.

"After careful consideration and on balance, my preference is that the initial level of the MUP should be set at 50p.

"But we will now gather views from individuals, businesses, public bodies and interested parties about the Welsh Government's preferred price of 50p."

Recent analysis by the University of Sheffield estimated that a 50p MUP in Wales will capture nearly half of off-trade alcohol sold and just under half of alcohol purchased by harmful drinkers, while only capturing just over a fifth of alcohol purchased by moderate drinkers.

They estimate it'll lead to 66 (8.5%) fewer alcohol-attributable deaths per year; and lead to 1,281 (3.6%) fewer alcohol-attributable hospital admissions per year.

This Welsh pub used to have a lion as a pet

Currently just under two-fifths (37%) of all alcohol is purchased at less than 50p per unit, accounting for just under half of all off-trade alcohol (47% sold below 50p).

Moderate drinkers purchased 22% of their units below this threshold, with the figures for hazardous and harmful drinkers being higher (36% and 46% respectively).

Harmful drinkers purchase more of their alcohol in the off-trade than either hazardous or moderate drinkers (76% compared to 67% and 60% respectively).

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Publication:Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 28, 2018
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