Birmingham considers Reducing the Strength campaign

Birmingham’s director of public health has urged Britain’s second city to adopt the Reducing the Strength campaign pioneered in Ipswich.

Dr Adrian Phillips said it was “ridiculous” that strong cider is “sold cheaper than water” in a report to the city council's Health and Wellbeing Board.

He recommended the city adopts the scheme, which sees the authorities ask retailers to strip shelves of beer and cider with an abv of more than 6.5%.

Phillips added: “The availability of very cheap and very strong ciders and alcohol is fuelling many of the problems in our society including hospital admissions, troubled families, domestic violence and safeguarding children.

He said: “Alcohol is a key factor in a large number of issues, including accident and emergency admissions, troubled families, domestic violence and safeguarding.

“The figures are shocking. A quarter of casualty attendances and over 10% of all hospital admissions are linked to alcohol.

“Fifty per cent of domestic violence cases are predicated by alcohol, a third of troubled families are troubled because of alcohol and a significant number of children brought into care because of parental misuse of alcohol.

“The introduction of a minimum unit price would have an immense impact in so many areas and I would urge the Government to reconsider its stance.

“In the meantime, we can take some control as a city and we are looking very closely at actions taken elsewhere, including the Reducing the Strength campaign in Ipswich.”

Phillips wants the council to team up with the local NHS and West Midlands Police to promote the scheme. 

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