The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has demanded the Government gets tough on cheap alcohol, after a new study released today found drink-related hospital admissions have soared.
The call was in response to John Moore's University study which revealed that almost 900 more people were admitted to hospital every day, compared with five years ago. Analysis of these findings concluded that the prevalence and accessibility of cheap alcohol was to blame for this increase.
ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: "These latest figures show yet again the harmful impact that cheap supermarket alcohol is having on the health of the nation. Whilst sales in the pub trade are falling, alcohol is all too readily being sold by the supermarkets at pocket money prices, fatally undermining Government public health priorities."
She added that pubs provide a safer, supervised environment for consumption but warned they could not compete with off trade prices. "It is high time the supermarkets matched our responsible retail approach to pricing and promotions," she said.
Nicholls dismissed public health minister Anne Milton's response to the report, which reiterated Government plans to reform the licensing regime and to introduce a ban on below-cost selling.
Nicholls said: "The Government has been promising action on pocket money prices for the past 18 months, but we are still waiting for it to happen. A ban on below-tax selling has yet to be enacted, and will only affect 1 in 3,000 products. The Government needs to take tough action now if it is to make a difference to these statistics."
By Neil Gerrard
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