British Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed that the United Kingdom set a minimum price for alcohol, in an effort to reduce problem drinking.
He is proposing that British retailers charge a minimum of 40 pence (63 cents) per unit of alcohol, according to The Wall Street Journal. A bottle of wine generally contains nine or more units of alcohol, the article notes.
“Binge drinking is a serious problem, and I make no excuses for clamping down on it,” Cameron said in a news release. He added that introducing a 40-pence-per-unit minimum could result in 50,000 fewer crimes per year, and 9,000 fewer alcohol-related deaths over the next decade.
The proposal is likely to be open to a round of public debate before the government makes a final decision about the measure, according to the newspaper.
Retailers in Britain have been selling alcohol at a steep discount to bring in customers, the article notes. Some pubs and clubs also have cut prices. The abundance of inexpensive alcohol has resulted in increased drinking rates and public disorder, according to health officials.
The prime minister also is proposing giving police increased power to remove liquor licenses from pubs, doubling fines for those who sell alcohol to minors, and outlawing bulk liquor promotions, such as “buy one, get one free.”