PUBLIC Health England will review the evidence for minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England, a health minister has said.

Steve Brine said that while a previous consultation found the evidence was not conclusive, the policy was kept under review as part of efforts to tackle alcohol abuse.

This month the Scottish government introduced a new minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol, becoming the first country in the world to introduce such a policy.

Following the introduction of the policy north of the border, Blackburn with Darwen public health boss Dominic Harrison said he would welcome it in England.

In 2013, Blackburn with Darwen Council passed a motion urging the government to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol to tackle the health harms associated with excessive drinking and to help dwindling trade at traditional pubs.

Mr Harrison said excessive alcohol consumption was becoming one of the biggest preventable causes of disease and early death, as well as domestic violence and abuse.

He added minimum unit pricing would help tackle the problem.

Mr Brine told MPs at Health questions: "The Government remains committed to tackling all alcohol-related harms. That's why we're developing a new alcohol strategy.

"And as part of this, I am commissioning Public Health England to undertake a review of the evidence for minimum unit pricing in England."

"The previous consultation in 2013 found that the evidence, as it stood at the time, wasn't entirely conclusive.

"That's still the case. That's why the Government intends to keep the policy under review.

"And to be fair, many times in this chamber, we are given the benefit of the experience north of the border as to where a policy has been a success.

"Not always strictly spot on, but I would say given the policy only came in last week, it probably is premature.

"So we welcome to see the evidence emerge from Scotland's implementation of MUP and we'll be watching very closely."