The NUS has decided to look into setting a minimum price for drinks sold at Students’ Union-linked bars. At their Blackpool conference earlier this month the delegates voted to start discussions on alcohol pricing in order to discourage binge drinking.
Wes Streeting, the recently re-elected NUS president, said that cheap drinks offers “encourage students to drink to dangerous levels, and should have no place in our Students’ Union bars.”
Steven Greaves, Lincoln SU’s next vice-president for Welfare and Liaison, said that “as a Students’ Union, we have a duty to promote responsible drinking to our members,” and that they “also have a duty of care to promote the health and wellbeing of our members both in the short and long term.”
Discussing the effectiveness of such a price rise, he noted that the SU doesn’t run any venues, but said “I feel that any minimum price would have to be implemented across the board in supermarkets, off-licences, bars and clubs for it to be of any effect. Lets face it, if one bar were to impose a minimum price and the one next door didn’t where would you go?”
The move comes after the government’s chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said he would continue with his campaign for a minimum alcohol price. Sir Liam proposed a price of 50p per unit of alcohol, but his report on the issue was rejected by the government.
The document cited research by the University of Sheffield, which showed that setting a minimum price discouraged heavy drinkers far more than those “drinking within low-risk levels”.
Mr Greaves said “this would in effect impose a minimum price of £1.17 on a pint of Carlsberg and 55 pence on a bottle of VK. I personally don’t think this is outrageous.”
A report by the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee said that “the cheap availability of alcohol… is fueling alcohol-related crime and disorder,” though they specifically targeted cheap offers run by supermarkets, as well as pub ‘happy hours’.
Speaking in reaction to that report, Vicky Wieczerzynska, the SU’s current vice-president for Welfare, said that “I think it’s the culture of today,” and not just cheap alcohol.
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