Irish Times – Call for price floor below which alcohol cannot be sold

A leading charity has called for the sale of alcohol to be restricted and the introduction of a price floor below which it cannot be sold.

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, wants all political parties to commit to tackling what it describes as the detrimental impact of alcohol on children and young people in the run-up to the election.

“Cheap alcohol, widely available and easily accessible, is fuelling a health and wellbeing crisis of which children and young people are the first casualties,” director of the charity Fiona Ryan said.

She called for the introduction of a price floor below which alcohol could not be sold.

She also said its promotion, availability and accessibility should be restricted. “Alcohol is a controlled substance and we act as if it’s a grocery.”

Ms Ryan described the Government’s alcohol policies as “disjointed”.

Last week the British government announced measures aimed at restricting the sale of cut-price alcohol.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the restrictions would stop “the worst instances of deep discounting”, in which supermarkets and off-licences use cut-price deals as loss-leaders to boost other sales, although lobby groups expressed concern that the government had not gone far enough in combating discounting.

Ms Ryan said the 2010 budget reduced excise duty on alcohol, while December’s Budget maintained the cut.

“The World Health Organisation states that price and availability of alcohol are the two key policy areas to tackle if governments want to be effective in reducing alcohol-related harm.”


Source: The Irish Times, 25/01/11
Journalist: Conor Pope