Council considers introducing minimum alcohol price

A man 's hand on a bottle of beer, with bottes and a pint on a table
Sunderland council chiefs are considering following in the footsteps of authorities in Scotland and Wales [Getty Images]

A council is considering introducing a minimum price for alcohol.

Health experts say minimum price policies, such as those already in place in Scotland and Wales, can help to tackle the impact of alcohol-related issues.

Sunderland City Council has launched a public consultation after being urged by its public health team to look at implementing a minimum price locally.

If introduced, a baseline price at which a unit of alcohol can be sold would be set under the terms of the Licensing Act.

Similar policies have already been adopted by some English cities, including Durham.

Sunderland's principal licensing officer Dawn Howley said evidence from Scotland, where the policy was introduced in 2018, showed a minimum price can help with alcohol-related problems.

A meeting of the Labour-led city council's licensing and regulatory committee, held on Monday, saw councillors unanimously agree to put the matter out to public consultation.

'Health impact'

They also agreed to consult the public on proposals to implement a "cumulative impact assessment", which could limit the number of licensed premises in an area.

If introduced, the measure could be used where the density of licensed businesses has a negative affect on licensing objectives, such as the prevention of crime and public nuisance and child protection.

Council reports, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, said the proposals were put forward "to minimise the adverse impact of alcohol on the health of local people and the resulting demand for health services."

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