The U.K. government is proposing a minimum price on alcoholic drinks, in an effort to "turn the tide" against binge drinking.
But the proposed minimum price of 40 pence ($0.60 Cdn) per unit of alcohol could face a legal challenge from drinks companies, reports the BBC, who say it might be incompatible with European competition law.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the government hopes the law will help curb a drinking culture that contributed to one million alcohol-related violent crimes and 1.2 million hospital admissions.
"Binge drinking isn't some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country," said Cameron. "The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities."
The proposed minimum pricing would raise a £2.99 bottle of wine to £3.76 ($5.96 Cdn), and a bottle of cheap, strong lager that normally sells for 75 pence a can would sell for at least £1.20 ($1.90 Cdn).
The reception among the drinks industry has been mixed. The C&C Group, makers of Magners cider, gave the proposal "a cautious welcome."
But Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium called a minimum price "a tax on responsible drinkers."
Of course, alcohol prices in Canada vary depending on local availability and whether or not sales are regulated by a provincial liquor board. Cheap strong beer received attention in February when Molson Coors announced they were stopping sales of their Black Label Big 10 product in Alberta.
What do you think about minimum prices on alcohol? What are the prices for alcoholic drinks like where you live? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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