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Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009
'Anger' over minimum booze price

Gordon Brown's reaction to the plan

England's top doctor is defending plans for a minimum price on alcohol.

The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, wants it to be 50p per unit to help cut binge drinking.

It would mean that a bottle of wine would be at least 4.50, a two litre bottle of cider would cost 5.50 and a six-pack of lager would be a minimum of 6.

Sir Liam Donaldson also wants licensing laws to be tightened in certain regions.

That could mean fewer bars and nightclubs opening in areas where there were high rates of cirrhosis of the liver.

Plans to introduce minimum prices for alcohol were announced by the Scottish government earlier this month and could come into force by the end of the year.

Both Wales and Northern Ireland have also expressed an interest in minimum pricing.

But the Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there were no plans to penalise the "majority" of drinkers in England, who drink sensibly.

He said: "As we crack down on binge and under-age drinking it's also right that we do not want the responsible, sensible, majority of moderate drinkers to have to pay more or suffer as a result of the excesses of a small minority."


Newsbeat listeners and readers have been having their say about Sir Liam Donaldson's suggested plan all day. Most people are highly critical.

Lee in Oxford said: "When I'm out on the ale, I don't stop drinking because I've run out of money, I stop because I've had enough.

"Making it more expensive will mean that I spend more, not drink less.

"Hardly the best course of action considering the current economic climate."

Craig in Conwy agrees. He said: "Raising the cost of alcohol may lower the drinking problem.

Sir Liam Donaldson defends his recommendations

"However, people on a low income may find it hard to socialise because of prices.

"This country is going one way. The rich look after the rich and the poorer people are brushed aside."

Many Radio 1 listeners and readers think that it's people who get violent on alcohol that should be targeted.

Peter in Huddersfield said: "Why should I be punished because I drink a few shots a week?

"Make the fines 250 a time if they cause problems. I am fed up for paying more because of a few yobs."

Ellie in Surrey thinks supermarkets should be held to account more often.

She said: "I don't think it's fair for there to be a minimum charge for alcohol as it'll damage the pub industry.

"Instead supermarkets should lose their licence so it'll be harder to get cheap booze for home.

"It should just be sold in individual off-licenses, which is a similar system to the States and Australia."

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