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Alcohol Available For Just 9P Unit Study Finds

Monday, 19 October 2009

The findings, which have been released to mark Alcohol Awareness Week this week, mean that drinkers could be unfit to drive for the price of a second class stamp.


The Core Cities Health Improvement Collaborative, a network of the primary care trusts in England's largest eight cities outside London, said the findings illustrate the scale of the challenge facing major cities in tackling the many problems associated with excessive drinking in Britain.


Deborah Evans, chief executive of NHS Bristol, said: "The price at which alcohol can be bought in and around our inner cities today is nothing short of horrifying.


"As well as finding three litres of cider in big name supermarkets for just £1.18 and £1.26 - which is equivalent to 9p and 10p a unit respectively - we also found super-strength cider at 7.5% available for £1.59 - which is 10.6p a unit - and £1.79, or 12p a unit.


"This wasn't just happening in one city, but in a number.


"Even leaving aside the consequences this type of cheap alcohol has on crime and disorder in our big cities, the effects that this type of drink has on our health doesn't bear thinking about."


The Core Cities Health Improvement Collaborative was set up earlier this year by the 10 primary care trusts (PCTs) in England's eight largest cities outside London - Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.


Working with its local government partners, the group aims to tackle a range of public health issues through closer collaboration and swifter sharing of best practice.


As part of its work to tackle the harm caused by alcohol, it carried out a snapshot poll earlier this month into the price at which budget alcohol is available across the UK.


It found a three litre bottle of value cider, with an alcohol content of 4.2% or 12.6 units, available in one supermarket for just £1.18. The same quantity and strength of cider was found in another supermarket for £1.26.


Two bottles of either brand would contain enough alcohol (25.2 units) to kill a child, and could be bought with a week's pocket money.


Previous studies carried out elsewhere in the UK had found cider available for around 11p per unit.


Earlier this year, England's chief medical officer, Prof Liam Donaldson, called on the Government to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.


Prof Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, has since said that a 50p minimum unit price would cut the number of hospital admissions by around 100,000, cut rates of heavy drinking by 10 per cent and reduce underage drinking by seven per cent.

Notes to editors:

The Core Cities group is a network of England’s eight largest regional cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
For more information about Core Cities, see www.corecities.com
Core Cities Health Improvement Collaborative (CCHIC) was established to boost collaboration between the cities’ 10 Primary Care Trusts: Birmingham East and North, South Birmingham, Heart of Birmingham Teaching, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, NHS Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham City and NHS Sheffield.