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Cumbria councillors debate ban on cheap booze

Calls for a ban on super-cheap booze have been issued.

Liz Mallinson  photo
Liz Mallinson

Cumbria county councillors debated the introduction of minimum price per unit of alcohol, to tackle spiralling costs associated with heavy drinking.

Some councillors have called for an end to pubs and clubs being given permission to serve booze 24-hours a day.

It comes after a report revealed nearly £200m is being spent every year on dealing with alcohol related harm.

The shocking figure includes health costs, costs of crime and licensing, costs to the workforce and wider economy, and costs to social services.

Alcohol is also the cause of 125 premature deaths in Cumbria each year – seven per cent of all early deaths.

Councillor Bill Wearing has called for tough action.

He told a full meeting of the council: “We need to reduce licensing hours back from 24 hours and lobby on minimum alcohol pricing. That, along with education, is the only way we can combat this.”

Anne Burns, the county council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said alcohol was one of the most common features in child protection cases.

She said: “Social workers are dealing with the consequences of alcohol and drugs on a day-to-day basis, so it is a big issue for us.

“We have to keep up a programme of education in schools to teach children the consequences of alcohol on their health and lives.

“The issues around alcohol and child abuse and protection are there for all to see.”

A special News & Star report revealed that many people, including nursing students and pub owners, believed a cap on the minimum price at which shops and supermarkets can sell alcohol should be brought in.

But Clare Feeney-Johnson insisted cut-price booze was not the true cause of the county’s alcohol problems.

She said: “We hide behind the fact that alcohol is cheap.

“We have got to work on educating and changing the attitudes of young people and their parents and grand-parents.

“We also tend to forget the problems that the 11 o’clock cut off at the pubs created when everyone was chucked out at the same time – violence has been reduced since then.”

County councillor for Stanwix, Carlisle, Liz Mallinson described Carlisle’s Botchergate as a “no go zone” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. She said: “We have gated off a section of Botchergate from vehicles so people who drink so much aren’t killed. It is sad we have to go to such extreme lengths for people who can’t control themselves with alcohol.”

But she praised a growing culture among sixth form students to remain alcohol-free.

Have your say

Why has this been allowed, if they keep on "suppressing" the UK citizens like this then there will be more revolts and riots.

We behave like animals while drinking as we desperately need a release from this existence where no matter how hard you try, how hard you work or what ever else maybe the case it ends up with everything being removed from you in some way or another.

I believe the elimination of certain priced alcoholic beverages and the increase to the minimum unit is a purely a front to raise the prices and gain more revenue, since less and less frequent the publican house.

Posted by John on 21 January 2014 at 09:45

its ok for certain people that either dont drink or can afford expensive alcohol at inflated prices. i only drink 3 nights a week and without cheap drink from a super market i would only drink 2 nights. what a boring existance i would have . leave me alone.

Posted by jackson on 21 January 2014 at 07:50

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