Council seeks supermarket alcohol ban
CORNWALL councillors are to ask the Prime Minister to stop supermarkets selling alcohol after hearing tens of thousands of hospital admissions in the county are due to alcohol abuse.
The council's health and adults overview and scrutiny committee backed the recommendation after listening to a new report from health bosses.
According to the study by the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, between 2009 and 2012 more than 38,800 cases of injury or illness caused by alcohol were admitted to hospital.
Meeting on Tuesday at County Hall in Truro the committee discussed alcohol being sold cheaply in supermarkets and the possible introduction of a national minimum price.
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Chairman Sue Nicholas said she had little faith that minimum pricing would deter people from buying and abusing alcohol.
"There was a time not that long ago when supermarkets didn't sell alcohol," she said. "I think they [the Government] should control sales of alcohol.
"I think minimum pricing is quite weak. People should not be able to buy alcohol in supermarkets."
The letter to David Cameron will also be sent to members of his Cabinet and Cornish MPs.
The report was presented by Sara Roberts, associate director of public health at Cornwall and Isles of Scilly NHS, and Jez Bayes, of the Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Team.
It revealed that just under a quarter (102,000) of the adult population of Cornwall regularly drank above the Government's recommended safe level, and a further 66,500 were classed as binge-drinkers. While the number of drink-related hospital admissions among under-18s had fallen, the overall figure for all age groups had increased during the period, it said.
Ms Roberts said more needed to be done to combat the problem.
"Alcohol is causing a considerable burden to the health service, with large numbers of people admitted to hospital with alcohol-related conditions," she said.
"In more deprived areas people are more likely to die from alcohol-related conditions than in affluent areas."
Mr Bayes said alcohol abuse was a national and historical problem.
"If you go back to the Battle of Hastings there were problems with alcohol in King Harold's army, so it's not a recent problem," he said.