The amount charged by Portsmouth bars and clubs for alcohol could be fixed, under a new proposal.
A by-law may be created which would force retailers to charge at least £4.50 for a bottle of wine and £5.50 for a two-litre bottle of cider. Such a move would see alcohol-related hospital admissions drop by thousands a year, the report suggests.
Bars and clubs in Portsmouth would have to sell alcohol at a minimum price of 75p per unit, which would work out at about £1.88 for a pint of strong lager. Bars could also see Post Office-style queuing systems introduced rather than going to the bar directly, with only a maximum of two drinks allowed to be purchased per person at a time.
The idea would be along the lines of measures which could be introduced by councils in Manchester.
Figures show levels of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the city rose by 59 per cent between 2002 and 2010 - higher than the national and South East averages.
A year-long study by the city council’s health panel found one in 20 adults in Portsmouth are likely to have an alcohol dependency. The number of deaths with an alcohol-related cause has increased by almost a third in Portsmouth since 1997. The average male in Portsmouth dies 10.2 months early due to alcohol-related illnesses, figures reveal.
Lib Dem councillor Lynne Stagg, Chairwoman of the city council’s Health Overview & Scrutiny Panel, which came up with the proposals, said: ‘I think we need to have more prevention. At the moment, it’s costing a lot of money to deal with the problem of people who are excessively drinking.’
Asked why she thought Portsmouth has a higher than average rate of binge drinking, Cllr Stagg said: ‘I don’t think anybody has got the answer.’
She suggested that figures are inflated by Portsmouth’s population of 20,000 students and thousands of Royal Navy personnel who go out drinking in the city, adding: ‘And it’s not just Portsmouth people, there’s also people coming across from Gosport for a night out.’