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Drunk For Half Bar Chocolate Cost Alcohol Booze Britain

Monday, 18 October 2010

Young people can be drunk for half the price of a bar of chocolate, a snapshot study on alcohol pricing has found.


Cider is available in city centre supermarkets and off licences for as little as 10p a unit, while lager can be bought for little more than 26p a pint.


It means that an adult woman could drink more than her daily recommended allowance, and probably find themselves over the legal drink drive limit, for just 30p - half the price of a standard bar of chocolate.


The findings caused health officials to question retailers' commitment to encouraging responsible drinking while selling alcohol at below pocket money prices.


Deborah Evans, chair of the Core Cities Health Improvement Collaborative which carried out the research, said: "Despite inflation, increases in duty on alcohol and commitments to curb below-cost selling, we have seen the price of the cheapest alcohol largely unaffected over the past 12 months.


"As a result, young men and women can still buy their maximum recommended weekly allowance of alcohol for the price of a small latte or a cheap magazine.


"Meanwhile, the true cost of alcohol is picked up by taxpayers in the form of soaring hospital admissions, crime and anti-social behaviour."


The Core Cities group - which represents health professionals working in England's eight biggest cities outside London - looked at the prices of a number of drinks over the past three weeks.


They found 3-litre bottles of strong cider - containing more alcohol than doctors recommend a grown man should drink in a week, and almost enough to kill a child - on sale for just £2.25, around a third of a week's pocket money1.


Unbranded lager was found priced at just 92p for a bottle containing 1.76 litres - around 3½ pints, or 26p a pint.


The snapshot survey also found alcopops aimed at young people often sold on mixed aisles alongside the fruit juices and soft drinks they try to taste like, rather than the vodka and spirits which go into them.


"Despite all the encouraging noises we've heard in the past twelve months about tackling the damage caused by cheap booze, the grand talk in Parliament has had no effect on prices being paid at the checkout.


"In the meantime, we have seen the drinks industry's willingness to absorb rises in duty on behalf of its customers, while supermarkets claim that it is responsible to sell alcohol for just the amount they owe the taxman.


"The time for tough talking is over; what we need now is strong and decisive action if we have any hope of tackling the plague of illness and injury caused by selling alcohol more cheaply than water."


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Notes to editors:

  • (1) Research by The London School of Economics in November 2009 found that children in the UK receive an average of £6.84 a week.
  • The pricing survey was carried out by the Core Cities Health Improvement Collaborative and looked at alcohol prices in a variety of retailers during the past three weeks
  • The Core Cities group is a network of England's eight largest regional cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
  • 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.