Counterfeit alcohol warning18th April 2012
The Local Government Association has warned that any move to introduce a minimum price on alcohol could cause a surge in counterfeit wine and spirits.
The LGA has raised concerns that drinkers would turn to fake brands of alcohol which may contain chemicals such as anti-freeze if the government's proposal for a 40p minimum price per alcohol unit in England and Wales goes ahead.
It is one of a number of moves in a new alcohol strategy for England and Wales to encourage responsible drinking, but the Health Select Committee say the lever of price can change behaviour.
In response to concerns over whether minimum pricing will encourage responsible drinking, Sir Ian Gilmore told the committee: “We would like to change the culture of drinking, but, price changes culture.”
The Scottish Parliament is considering similar plans on minimum pricing, while the Northern Ireland Assembly is considering charging 45-50 pence per unit of alcohol to be implemented in 2013.
However, Councillor David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association Community Wellbeing Board, said: "National gestures like minimum pricing and banning multi-buy discounts will only go as far as deterring binge drinking and don't take into account varying issues of town and city centres across the country.
“We are concerned that targeting cheap alcohol could push people to the black market and cheaper drinks. When drinking counterfeit brands you can never be sure what you are putting into your body.”
He said people could go blind or drink themselves to death with fake alcohol.
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