Acting quickly to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol would have multiple health and economic benefits, said West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas in a Westminster debate on coronavirus restrictions.
Adding his voice to those of other MPs calling for a Government rethink on the 10pm pub curfew, Mr Thomas said: “We have told pubs they need to close at 10 o’clock but we have done absolutely nothing to curtail the sale of cheap alcohol in supermarkets.
“Once again, we are seeing the supermarkets doing everything they can to maximise their take on the back of the coronavirus.
“What the Government could do right now to reassure pubs …. is to curtail cheap alcohol sales in supermarkets, which would not only improve people’s health but give the pubs a chance to recover.
“If the Government is not prepared to change the curfew, they must be prepared to give pubs a fair chance.”
Introducing the minimum unit price for alcohol “would reduce the drinking culture … and improve health outcomes, which would improve people’s chances of surviving coronavirus and increase the Treasury’s income.”
Mr Thomas contributed to the Alcohol Harm Commission Inquiry which released its report this week detailing the scale of harm directly attributed to alcohol.
The report shows that there are 80 alcohol-related deaths every day while 33 people are diagnosed with an alcohol-related cancer every day.
Sales of alcohol provides £12bn to the Treasury but cost society up to £52bn each year.
In Scotland, a minimum unit price of 50p per unit was introduced in 2018; earlier this year the Government said there were “no plans for the introduction of MUP in England” although it would continue to monitor the progress of MUP in Scotland and consider the evidence of its impact.