Tackle ‘national pandemic’ of alcohol abuse, say MPs

Minimum pricing and tough new rules for drink-driving were amongst a host of recommendations unveiled by a group of MPs and Peers this week, in response to a “national pandemic” of alcohol abuse.

The All Party Parliamentary Committee on Alcohol Misuse revealed its manifesto for 2015, which demonstrates the cost of alcohol-related incidents and calls for new measures to minimise alcohol-related harm.

Incidents ranging from drink-related crime to hospital admissions are thought to cost the UK economy as much as £21 billion annually.

Accidents

In the foreword to the manifesto, Tracey Crouch, who chairs the group, said: “The facts and figures of the scale of alcohol misuse in the UK speak for themselves”.

She believes that there “must be a more thorough and full package of measures which tackles the problem more effectively and reduces the cost to people’s health of alcohol-related crime and treatment”.

The proposed new rules would see a reduction in the drink-drive limit, initially applied to drivers under the age of 21.

Minimum price

The group is also pushing for reform in the labelling of alcohol and for a minimum price to be applied per unit of alcohol to increase the cost of cheap drinks available in supermarkets.

The proposal document states: “In order to inform consumers about balanced risk, every alcohol label should include an evidence-based health warning”. This would include information on “nutritional, calorific and alcohol content”.

A call to strengthen the regulation of alcohol marketing is also issued in the manifesto, in order to protect children and young people.

Change

Earlier this year an announcement was made about a change to drug-driving laws, scheduled for March 2015.

The change will make it an offence to drive while over specific limits of controlled substances.

A survey published this month by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line, found that three in every 100 drivers admit to ‘drug driving’.

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