WYRE Forest MP, Dr Richard Taylor, has joined a leading group of influential MPs in calling for minimum pricing for alcohol and major changes to the regulation of alcoholic drinks advertising.

The cross-party Health Committee is proposing minimum pricing, independent regulation of alcohol promotion and a change in attitude to drinking.

In a report published today the response of successive Governments to the problem is described as ranging from “the non-existent to the ineffectual”.

It claims that minimum pricing would most affect those who drink cheap alcohol, in particular young binge-drinkers and heavy low income drinkers who suffer most from liver disease.

The report estimates that a minimum price of 50p per unit would save more than 3,000 lives per year, a minimum price of 40p, 1,100 lives.

Dr Taylor said: “The evidence we took showed that minimum pricing was the most effective way forward and at the moment you can sometimes buy beer cheaper than water.

“Our message is that the price would be put up but only by a little for moderate drinkers. Surely that is a sacrifice to pay for the good health of young people.”

The health committee report states that minimum pricing would also benefit traditional pubs and is supported by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA).

It recommends alcohol duty should continue to rise year on year, but duty increases should predominantly be on stronger alcoholic drinks, notably on spirits.

The report adds that information on the risks of alcohol should be provided on the labels of alcohol containers and the Government should introduce a mandatory labelling scheme.

It concludes that the current system of controls on alcohol advertising and promotion is “failing the young people it is intended to protect”.

The report demands both the procedures and the scope be strengthened and that new controls should cover sponsorship and new media.

It adds there is a pressing need to restrict alcohol advertising and promotion in places where children are likely to be affected by it.

The Government now has two months to respond to the report and its recommendations.

You can read the report online at publications.parliament.uk