More than 100 MPs, police commissioners, charities and health organisations have called for minimum pricing to be implemented in England ‘immediately’.
‘Lives will be lost if Westminster delays further on the issue’, says an open letter to the Sunday Times signed by representatives of the royal colleges of physicians, psychiatrists, nursing, GPs and anaesthetists, as well as the BMA, Cancer Research UK, Thames Reach and the Children’s Society. Among the other signatories are police and crime commissioners and cross-party MPs, including Frank Field, Fiona Bruce, Liam Byrne, Caroline Lucas, Caroline Flint and Norman Lamb.
Minimum pricing will be introduced in Scotland in May, following a five-year delay as a result of legal challenges from the drinks industry (DDN, December/January, page 4). A similar delay in England would lead to more than 1,000 deaths and 182,000 alcohol-related crimes, the letter claims, as well as a cost to the NHS of £326m.
‘These numbers will only increase the longer minimum pricing is delayed – and these costs are all entirely avoidable,’ the letter states. ‘The government should act now.’