Burnley MP backs minimum alcohol price

First published in News

BURNLEY MP Gordon Birtwistle has called for a ban on cheap booze after shock figures revealed that the effects of alcohol cost every person in Burnley £384 a year.

The crippling costs to the NHS, police, employers and social services have prompted the charity DrinkWise to call on Lancashire County Council to implement minimum pricing.

And Mr Birtwistle, who lost a family friend to alcohol abuse when he was a child, said he would support such a scheme.

Damning reports to the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale three-tier forums show that alcohol-related illness cost the health service £22.79million across the three boroughs in 2011/12.

Mr Birtwistle described the 111 deaths attributed to alcohol in the same period as ‘a tragedy’.

He said: “I think it’s a shame that people have got to this level where they are drinking themselves to death.

“I don’t drink so perhaps I’ll never know their situation, but it’s a tragedy. It is not, however, a new thing. It’s been going on forever.

“A friend of my family died of this very addiction when I was 10 years old. It may be more of an issue now but I still think every case is a tragedy.

“It costs the NHS a fortune trying to save people’s lives, but what can you do? We live in a free society but we need to help sooner.

“Would I support minimum pricing like they’re doing in Scotland? I would like to see it. It’s particularly important that supermarkets can’t sell four cans of strong lager for the same price of one pint in a pub.”

The reports put the cost of alcohol-fuelled crime across the three boroughs at £35.5million a year, while sick days cost businesses £34.34million annually.

Social services departments also face an annual bill of £6.12million for assisting families affected by alcohol abuse.

A group hoping to raise awareness of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, set up by the Cumbria and Lancashire Public Health Collaborative, has written to each of the three-tier forums calling for their thoughts on the issue.

A spokesperson for DrinkWise said: “A minimum unit price is supported by people who put your health and physical safety first - police and fire services, doctors and nurses, cancer charities and medical collages.

“Minimum pricing is opposed by some who manage companies whose obligation is to shareholders to maximise profits.

“We believe minimum unit pricing targets cheap strong booze will protect the most vulnerable and young in our society from pocket-money priced drinks.”

Mr Birtwistle added: “We need to find people help to stop earlier. There are some great services in Burnley to help them, but at the end of the day we need to get more people using them.

“The point about minimum pricing is that it would also help the sensible, moderate drinkers in pubs. The pub trade is dying because supermarkets can sell drinks for less than cost price.”

Comments (27)

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5:40pm Sat 19 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

Get real mr useless
Get real mr useless ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 45

5:55pm Sat 19 Apr 14

berny55 says...

i will go along with that, so long as you do it in that house of ill repute called parliament
i will go along with that, so long as you do it in that house of ill repute called parliament berny55
  • Score: 50

6:01pm Sat 19 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

berny55 wrote:
i will go along with that, so long as you do it in that house of ill repute called parliament
Is that he place where you have to stand with your back towards the wall ? ? LOL
[quote][p][bold]berny55[/bold] wrote: i will go along with that, so long as you do it in that house of ill repute called parliament[/p][/quote]Is that he place where you have to stand with your back towards the wall ? ? LOL ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 26

6:09pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Reality50 says...

Raise the booze prices further and who will benefit? France and Belgium as the booze cruises will return. People buy booze in supermarkets because the pub prices are too expensive. I oppose this idiotic and counter productive idea of Birtwistle and others.
Raise the booze prices further and who will benefit? France and Belgium as the booze cruises will return. People buy booze in supermarkets because the pub prices are too expensive. I oppose this idiotic and counter productive idea of Birtwistle and others. Reality50
  • Score: 48

6:34pm Sat 19 Apr 14

alf-abett says...

May I ask the learned gentleman how much the thieving Bankers and the Energy Companies cost everyone in the whole country, not just Burnley. Get your priorities right me thinks.
May I ask the learned gentleman how much the thieving Bankers and the Energy Companies cost everyone in the whole country, not just Burnley. Get your priorities right me thinks. alf-abett
  • Score: 44

7:16pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Copperhead says...

£384 per year per person ?
That just shows how out of touch they are - I spend at least £1000 a year on beer.
And I don't regret one penny of it.
As the great Viv Stanshall ( Bonzo Dog Doo Da Band ) once said -
" If I had all the money I've ever spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink "
£384 per year per person ? That just shows how out of touch they are - I spend at least £1000 a year on beer. And I don't regret one penny of it. As the great Viv Stanshall ( Bonzo Dog Doo Da Band ) once said - " If I had all the money I've ever spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink " Copperhead
  • Score: 36

7:36pm Sat 19 Apr 14

vicn1956 says...

As usual the responsible majority are penalised. As if people who drink irresponsibly will stop and think-"No I'll forego another drink as the 50p increase is too much."
As usual the responsible majority are penalised. As if people who drink irresponsibly will stop and think-"No I'll forego another drink as the 50p increase is too much." vicn1956
  • Score: 40

8:22pm Sat 19 Apr 14

happycyclist says...

People drink to relax and escape the stress, drudgery and hopelessness of their lives. Leave us alone!
People drink to relax and escape the stress, drudgery and hopelessness of their lives. Leave us alone! happycyclist
  • Score: 41

8:51pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Openminded? says...

Ban alcohol.....
Ban alcohol..... Openminded?
  • Score: -38

1:09am Sun 20 Apr 14

coates warder says...

personal is it mr MP. YOU ON YOUR£65,000 + BENIFITS CAN AFFORD YOUR SUBSIDISED bar in the commons and your sudsidised restaurant us on the minimum wage can only afford a few drinks a week and now u take that away . cheers pal
personal is it mr MP. YOU ON YOUR£65,000 + BENIFITS CAN AFFORD YOUR SUBSIDISED bar in the commons and your sudsidised restaurant us on the minimum wage can only afford a few drinks a week and now u take that away . cheers pal coates warder
  • Score: 36

3:15am Sun 20 Apr 14

woolywords says...

"We live in a free society but we need to help sooner."
No, you don't, and on both counts!
Do a little research upon the affects of Dopamines and reassess your opinions. People abuse chocolate, alcohol and drugs because it brings them pleasure, in an otherwise dull and meaningless existence.
There are many, and far greater immoralities that you can tackle, without interfering in this non-issue. If you are unable to discern them, by talking to your electorate, then you really ought not to be in your job.
"We live in a free society but we need to help sooner." No, you don't, and on both counts! Do a little research upon the affects of Dopamines and reassess your opinions. People abuse chocolate, alcohol and drugs because it brings them pleasure, in an otherwise dull and meaningless existence. There are many, and far greater immoralities that you can tackle, without interfering in this non-issue. If you are unable to discern them, by talking to your electorate, then you really ought not to be in your job. woolywords
  • Score: 31

3:25am Sun 20 Apr 14

woolywords says...

Here's one to ponder upon. After the Great Train Robbery in 1963, where over £2Millions of public money was stolen, a number of men went to jail for over 20 years. Why is that, in the last 20 years, much more money has been stolen from the public, with nobody going to jail?
If it's any help to you; I turned 10 in 1963, and both things have affected me, deeply. Especially when Mum caught us passing mailbags (all the pillows and cushions in the house), down the stairs.
Here's one to ponder upon. After the Great Train Robbery in 1963, where over £2Millions of public money was stolen, a number of men went to jail for over 20 years. Why is that, in the last 20 years, much more money has been stolen from the public, with nobody going to jail? If it's any help to you; I turned 10 in 1963, and both things have affected me, deeply. Especially when Mum caught us passing mailbags (all the pillows and cushions in the house), down the stairs. woolywords
  • Score: 16

7:39am Sun 20 Apr 14

DaveBurnley says...

Why do people drink heavily?

I'd suggest it is to escape from the reality of the present clime, a lack of work, poor houses, little prospect of bettering yourself.

If these politicians really wanted to help us then they would make real efforts to improve the country and help people to get out of the downward spiral that we are in. Instead they will simply bleat about not being able to do anything about it, whilst drinking heavily in their own subsidised bars.
Why do people drink heavily? I'd suggest it is to escape from the reality of the present clime, a lack of work, poor houses, little prospect of bettering yourself. If these politicians really wanted to help us then they would make real efforts to improve the country and help people to get out of the downward spiral that we are in. Instead they will simply bleat about not being able to do anything about it, whilst drinking heavily in their own subsidised bars. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 31

7:50am Sun 20 Apr 14

Real Ale Up North says...

Usual blinkered tub thumping by an out of touch MP. Always the easy fix comment. Make the responsible and moderate suffer . Bump up the price for working class folk. Whenever concerns over alcohol are raised, it's always the same easy option - just penalise the responsible drinker. He's making a failed attempt at political points scoring. Well, you have scored a political 'own goal' on this prickly issue - no argument.
Usual blinkered tub thumping by an out of touch MP. Always the easy fix comment. Make the responsible and moderate suffer . Bump up the price for working class folk. Whenever concerns over alcohol are raised, it's always the same easy option - just penalise the responsible drinker. He's making a failed attempt at political points scoring. Well, you have scored a political 'own goal' on this prickly issue - no argument. Real Ale Up North
  • Score: 32

8:17am Sun 20 Apr 14

Manuel Hung says...

The sooner Gordon Birtwistle gets voted out the better!
The sooner Gordon Birtwistle gets voted out the better! Manuel Hung
  • Score: 31

8:18am Sun 20 Apr 14

2 for 5p ridesagain says...

Birtwistle you are completely out of touch will the public :
Do you think for one minute the gutter scum who frequent food banks will stop buying alcohol, let doubt it very much. They will just go more often.
The only loosers in this policy will be us workers paying more for our enjoyment.
I can't wait to see how you fair in the next election.
Birtwistle you are completely out of touch will the public : Do you think for one minute the gutter scum who frequent food banks will stop buying alcohol, let doubt it very much. They will just go more often. The only loosers in this policy will be us workers paying more for our enjoyment. I can't wait to see how you fair in the next election. 2 for 5p ridesagain
  • Score: -26

8:33am Sun 20 Apr 14

Real Ale Up North says...

Well said DaveBurnley - in fact well said to everyone who has commented on this forum. With the exception of a rather selfish comment about banning alcohol!
Let's face it, Mr Birtwistle really is a political 'dead man walking'. Agreed?
Well said DaveBurnley - in fact well said to everyone who has commented on this forum. With the exception of a rather selfish comment about banning alcohol! Let's face it, Mr Birtwistle really is a political 'dead man walking'. Agreed? Real Ale Up North
  • Score: 27

9:04am Sun 20 Apr 14

Nikon fan says...

For those people who have nothing better to do than sit at home drinking, a price increase will make no difference. If your life is rubbish, alcohol won't cure it. Your problems will still be there. Too many people in this country with no vision or aims in life.
For those people who have nothing better to do than sit at home drinking, a price increase will make no difference. If your life is rubbish, alcohol won't cure it. Your problems will still be there. Too many people in this country with no vision or aims in life. Nikon fan
  • Score: -20

10:34am Sun 20 Apr 14

Interocitor says...

In February he called for a parliamentary candidate to be de-selected for the 'crime' of posting a cartoon - nothing liberal about that. This month it's booze he's targeting.

I just can't square up this authoritarianism with liberalism.
In February he called for a parliamentary candidate to be de-selected for the 'crime' of posting a cartoon - nothing liberal about that. This month it's booze he's targeting. I just can't square up this authoritarianism with liberalism. Interocitor
  • Score: 37

10:46am Sun 20 Apr 14

globetrot says...

Berk-whistle.
Berk-whistle. globetrot
  • Score: 30

1:08pm Sun 20 Apr 14

Openminded? says...

I go back to what I said eariler, ban alcohol !

This country would save alot of money and hassle, instead of having to deal with the hassle of alcohol.

Alcohol abuse has been estimated to cost the UK between £17 - £22 billion a year.
It accounts for one in 26 NHS bed days and upto 17 million working days are lost due to it.

The income gained from alcohol by this government is aprox £14 billion per year.

You do the maths........
I go back to what I said eariler, ban alcohol ! This country would save alot of money and hassle, instead of having to deal with the hassle of alcohol. Alcohol abuse has been estimated to cost the UK between £17 - £22 billion a year. It accounts for one in 26 NHS bed days and upto 17 million working days are lost due to it. The income gained from alcohol by this government is aprox £14 billion per year. You do the maths........ Openminded?
  • Score: -27

1:10pm Sun 20 Apr 14

velocityowl says...

So yet again the majority has to suffer for the minority. Also more money to the government .
So yet again the majority has to suffer for the minority. Also more money to the government . velocityowl
  • Score: 26

1:15pm Sun 20 Apr 14

Openminded? says...

velocityowl wrote:
So yet again the majority has to suffer for the minority. Also more money to the government .
Why is the majority suffering??

You not going to die, if you don't drink alcohol for the rest of your life!

In what way you going to suffer, and to say financially, would be stupid. Nobody is forcing you to spend your disposable income on alcohol !
[quote][p][bold]velocityowl[/bold] wrote: So yet again the majority has to suffer for the minority. Also more money to the government .[/p][/quote]Why is the majority suffering?? You not going to die, if you don't drink alcohol for the rest of your life! In what way you going to suffer, and to say financially, would be stupid. Nobody is forcing you to spend your disposable income on alcohol ! Openminded?
  • Score: -25

4:09pm Sun 20 Apr 14

Openminded? says...

Real Ale Up North wrote:
Well said DaveBurnley - in fact well said to everyone who has commented on this forum. With the exception of a rather selfish comment about banning alcohol!
Let's face it, Mr Birtwistle really is a political 'dead man walking'. Agreed?
Why is my comment selfish?
[quote][p][bold]Real Ale Up North[/bold] wrote: Well said DaveBurnley - in fact well said to everyone who has commented on this forum. With the exception of a rather selfish comment about banning alcohol! Let's face it, Mr Birtwistle really is a political 'dead man walking'. Agreed?[/p][/quote]Why is my comment selfish? Openminded?
  • Score: -17

5:29pm Sun 20 Apr 14

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

si if his friend had died in a car crash he would back a ban on cars?? yet another idiotic Birtwistle statement,does the man ever say anything sensible?
si if his friend had died in a car crash he would back a ban on cars?? yet another idiotic Birtwistle statement,does the man ever say anything sensible? ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123
  • Score: 19

5:34pm Sun 20 Apr 14

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

2 for 5p ridesagain wrote:
Birtwistle you are completely out of touch will the public :
Do you think for one minute the gutter scum who frequent food banks will stop buying alcohol, let doubt it very much. They will just go more often.
The only loosers in this policy will be us workers paying more for our enjoyment.
I can't wait to see how you fair in the next election.
I hope you lose your job soon
[quote][p][bold]2 for 5p ridesagain[/bold] wrote: Birtwistle you are completely out of touch will the public : Do you think for one minute the gutter scum who frequent food banks will stop buying alcohol, let doubt it very much. They will just go more often. The only loosers in this policy will be us workers paying more for our enjoyment. I can't wait to see how you fair in the next election.[/p][/quote]I hope you lose your job soon ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123
  • Score: 19

1:55pm Fri 25 Apr 14

BuckoTheMoose says...

Openminded? wrote:
I go back to what I said eariler, ban alcohol !

This country would save alot of money and hassle, instead of having to deal with the hassle of alcohol.

Alcohol abuse has been estimated to cost the UK between £17 - £22 billion a year.
It accounts for one in 26 NHS bed days and upto 17 million working days are lost due to it.

The income gained from alcohol by this government is aprox £14 billion per year.

You do the maths........
Openminded are you? Prohibition has been tried and it doesn't work. If people want to drink alcohol, that is their beef and nothing to do with you or anyone else.

It only becomes another persons problem when people cause trouble when drinking. There are laws in place to deal with that and should be used.

Healthcare is paid for through forced taxation. There is no reason to squabble about costs for using healthcare when we are all forced to pay for it. If you don't like that, let's have an insurance based system.
[quote][p][bold]Openminded?[/bold] wrote: I go back to what I said eariler, ban alcohol ! This country would save alot of money and hassle, instead of having to deal with the hassle of alcohol. Alcohol abuse has been estimated to cost the UK between £17 - £22 billion a year. It accounts for one in 26 NHS bed days and upto 17 million working days are lost due to it. The income gained from alcohol by this government is aprox £14 billion per year. You do the maths........[/p][/quote]Openminded are you? Prohibition has been tried and it doesn't work. If people want to drink alcohol, that is their beef and nothing to do with you or anyone else. It only becomes another persons problem when people cause trouble when drinking. There are laws in place to deal with that and should be used. Healthcare is paid for through forced taxation. There is no reason to squabble about costs for using healthcare when we are all forced to pay for it. If you don't like that, let's have an insurance based system. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: 4

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