Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Call for 50p-per-unit alcohol tax

Women drinking beer
Dr Wollaston wants alcohol to be priced at 50p per unit

A Conservative candidate says the party's policy of increasing the price of alcopops does not go far enough.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, parliamentary candidate for Totnes in Devon at the next election, would like to see a 50p price per unit tax on all alcohol.

Dr Wollaston said she was "concerned" about the current Tory policy of only increasing the price of alcopops, high-strength ciders and beers.

She spoke as police warned women to moderate drinking over Christmas.

The aim for a lot of people is to get plastered
Dr Sarah Wollaston

Dr Wollaston, a former police surgeon who spent several years seeing rape survivors, told BBC News that a tax of 50p per unit of alcohol would deter excessive drinking.

She said about the current Conservative policy of increasing the price of alcopops, high-strength ciders and beers: "My concern is that people whose aim is to get drunk will switch to the product that they can use to get drunk.

"The aim for a lot of people is to get plastered."

Devon and Cornwall Police have warned women heading out for Christmas drinks not to make themselves easy prey for rapists by drinking excessively.

Poster, radio and TV advertisements will urge women to "let your hair down, not your guard", while warning men, "Rape: short word, long sentence."

There were 454 rapes in the force area between 1 November 2008 and 31 October 2009, a slight increase on previous years.

National research suggests alcohol is involved in about 80% of rape cases.

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