British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has rejected a proposal for a minimum alcohol price as a way of combatting excessive drinking.
In line with the government’s crackdown on binge drinking by young people, the country’s chief medical officer recommended fixing the equivalent of 55 cents per unit of alcohol as a lower limit. It would have resulted in a doubling in price of some discount beer and wine. The proposal follows further evidence that Britain has a worsening problem with teenage drunkenness. But Brown believes the measure would punish moderate consumers: “We do not want the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers, to have to pay more or suffer as a result of the excesses of a small minority.” The Department of Health said it was taking action to deal with very cheap alcohol, but said this had to be “appropriate, fair and effective”. The latest government figures show that nearly 40 percent of British men and a quarter of women drink more than the recommended daily limit.