Alcohol is so cheap in some parts of Wales that you can drink a week’s recommended intake for just £2, it has been revealed.
A new study by Alcohol Concern Cymru conducted a survey of supermarkets and off-licences in six towns and cities across Wales.
It found that drinks such as cider are on sale for as little as 15.5p per unit in Wales.
It means that 14 units – the maximum amount the UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommend any of us drink in a week – could be purchased for as little as £2.17.
Alcohol Concern Cymru claims introducing a minimum unit price of 50p will protect heavy drinkers and save the NHS time and money.
Alcohol Concern Cymru’s Mark Leyshon said: “The health harms caused by alcohol remain one of the biggest problems facing Wales, and our hospitals handle as many as 1,000 admissions related to alcohol each week.
“Many of these illnesses and injuries are linked to cheap alcohol sold in the off-trade – in supermarkets and off-licences – at prices far below those in pubs.
“Typically it’s heavy drinkers who favour low-price alcohol, meaning that it is the cheapest alcohol on the market that is bought and consumed in the greatest quantities and which causes the greatest harm.
“Introducing a minimum unit price would bring a significant reduction in alcohol harms, by changing the drinking behaviours of this group without penalising moderate drinkers. It’s high time to get minimum unit pricing on the statute book for the benefit of all of us.”
Shops in Bangor, Carmarthen, Mold, Penarth, Pontypool and Rhyl were visited in the study which ran throughout January.
In total 113 different alcoholic products on sale for under 50p per unit were identified in just 18 different stores.
The report stated: “Cider (and perry) represented all of those products at the very cheapest end of the scale.
“However it is important to note that the researchers also found many examples of other alcohol types, including lagers, wines and spirits, on sale in the 25p-49p per unit price bracket.”
According to the Welsh Health Survey, 40% of adults in Wales said they had drank more than the recommended guidelines in the past week.
Another recent study revealed that almost one in seven adults (14%) in Wales admitted to drinking 14 units of alcohol in a single day – the equivalent of six pints of 4% beer or six 175ml glasses of 13% wine.
Experts say this level of drinking significantly increases their risk of developing alcohol-related conditions including, liver disease and cancer of the breast, mouth and throat.
In last week’s Budget Chancellor George Osborne announced a duty freeze on beer, spirits and most ciders.
Source: Wales online, 24th March