Friday 24 August 2012

County Booze Cruise?

Following the Scottish government's decision to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol the Labour group on Northumberland County Council this week appeared to be advocating that the council should invest in promoting the county as a shopping destination for our Scots neighbours who wish to stock up on cheaper drink. To quote the leader of the Labour group's blog:
Labour Group members asked why the administration hadn't set money aside to promote Northumberland as a destination of choice for the Scottish "Booze Cruisers"... Labour Group Economic spokesperson Councillor Susan Davey said "By not setting aside an adequate advertising budget to promote travel and shopping in Northumberland to the Scots, the County may miss out on this golden opportunity".
This proposal is set against a backdrop in which our county's rates "of road injuries and deaths and hospital stays for alcohol related harm are worse than the England average" (see Northumberland's 2012 health profile). Rather than establishing Northumberland as a "booze cruise" haven, should we instead be doing something to tackle the problems we already face?

If you want to learn more or have views on this subject that you want to share, the council's communities and place scrutiny committee has arranged a public meeting to discuss the issue of minimum pricing for alcohol. The event will take place in Morpeth Town Hall at 6pm on 17th September. A number of experts have been invited and it is hoped that public health experts, doctors and Northumbria Police representatives will attend. This meeting takes place in advance of the launch of a government consultation on minimum price per unit for alcohol later this year.

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