GOVERNMENT plans to increase the minimum price of alcohol in a bid to tackle problem drinking across the UK have been proposed after research was carried out in Sheffield.
The government wants to increase the minimum price per unit of alcohol to 45p, 5p more than ministers suggested in March.
Officials hope the hike in booze prices will prevent problem drinking and reduce the number of hospital admissions and alcohol-related crimes.
Last year alone saw more than one million booze-related crimes and 1.2 million hospital admissions due to alcohol abuse.
A study conducted by University of Sheffield researchers has suggested a minimum unit price of 50p would reduce total alcohol consumption by 6.7 per cent, reducing hospital admissions by 20,000 within the first year.
Officials currently claim a can of lager can be bought for as little as 20p and a two litre bottle of cider for just £1.69. Cheap multi-deals in supermarkets could be banned but pub prices are unlikely to be affected.
Concerns have been raised about moderate drinkers being disproportionately affected by the increase. But Professor Sir Ian Gilmore of the Alcohol Health Alliance said: “The evidence shows us that heavy drinkers and young drinkers are more affected by higher alcohol prices than moderate drinkers.”