01/03/2013 02:14 GMT

Minimum Alcohol Price Should Be Higher Say Experts

The debate over a minimum price for alcohol has been reopened after experts called for the UK government to fast-track the controversial policy.

A coalition of 70 health organisations said a 50p per unit minimum - higher the amount put forward by the coalition - was needed to end the "avoidable epidemic" of booze-related deaths.


Is minimum pricing the key to ending binge drinking?

Labels should make more clear the dangers of excessive drinking, they said.

The reforms would bring England, Wales and Northern Ireland in line with Scotland, which is poised to introduce a 50p base.

The report, by the Alcohol Health Alliance, has been published by the University of Stirling.

The authors also call for a crackdown on adverts for alcoholic drinks - saying teenagers were more exposed to the publicity than their parents were.

The coalition government is expected to say in the next few months whether it will press ahead with proposals for a 45p-per-unit limit.

The plans have enraged the drinks industry, which claims it will hit responsible drinkers.

Responding to the report, Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: "Not everyone who looks for value in their shopping is a binge-drinker."

But the British Medical Association welcomed the recommendations, saying "urgent" action was needed above and beyond the government's plans.

The group also said products should be taxed based on their alcohol content, and calls for the drink-driving limit to be lowered.