British doctors have urged the government to raise prices of alcohol so that thousands of lives, including those of “harmful drinkers and young people”, could be saved.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, signed by the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association among others, a total of 19 experts said there was an “urgent need” to raise the prices of cheap alcohol.
“There is a wealth of evidence to show a direct correlation between alcohol affordability and levels of harm,” the letter said.
“In 2010, alcohol was 44 percent more affordable than in 1980, a trend mirrored by an increase in cases of alcohol-related health problems and social damage.”
“We urgently need to raise the price of cheap drink. Harmful drinkers and young people are likely to be the most responsive to price increases,” Sky News quoted the letter as saying.
The doctors said more than a million people in Britain are admitted to hospital every year because of alcohol-linked problems.
Drinking was also associated with one in four deaths among young people aged 15 to 24, they said.