North Tyneside mum backs fresh calls to end cheap alcohol

Joanne Good is backing a campaign calling on the end of cheap alcohol after her 16-year-old daughter Megan Craig-Wilkinson passed away on New Years Day 2014 after drinking cheap white cider at a New Years Eve party.
Joanne Good is backing a campaign calling on the end of cheap alcohol after her 16-year-old daughter Megan Craig-Wilkinson passed away on New Years Day 2014 after drinking cheap white cider at a New Years Eve party.

A mother is backing a campaign calling for the end of cheap alcohol after her daughter died from drinking strong white cider at a party.

Fresh pressure is mounting on the Government to follow the lead set by their Scottish counterparts and implementing a minimum unit price (MUP) on alcohol.

It will see the price rise on the cheapest alcohol products which cause most harm, while leaving the price of most drinks, including those served in bars and restaurants, unchanged.

Officials at Balance are calling on the Westminster Government to follow the lead set by Scotland and end the supply of cheap alcohol.

And they are being backed by Joanne Good, whose 16-year-old daughter Megan Craig-Wilkinson passed away on New Year’s Day 2014, after drinking 1.5 litres of cheap white cider at a New Year’s Eve party.

Joanne, of Dudley, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of minimum unit pricing on alcohol in Scotland.

“By raising the price of cheap alcohol products, this landmark decision will help both young people and vulnerable people and encourage them to make better choices.

“I lost my beautiful daughter Megan after a New Year’s Eve house party where she had drunk cheap white cider so I have experienced first-hand the tragedy cheap alcohol can bring about.

“We’ve been campaigning hard in the hope that it will bring about change and another family will be saved from having to go through what we have been through.

“We now urgently need the UK Government to follow Scotland’s example and introduce a minimum unit price here in England too.

“It makes total sense – the cheapest alcohol is causing the most harm and minimum unit price targets the cheapest drinks.”

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Just like Scotland was the first in the UK to introduce smokefree law, it is now taking an important step for the health of its people on alcohol. The decision represents a great victory not just for the health of the public but also for democracy.”

“This now paves the way for this policy to be introduced in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who have all committed to it.

“It is vital that the UK Government now follows suit, so that England does not get left behind the rest of the UK.

“The cheaper alcohol is, the more we suffer through ill health, crime and disorder and the more it drains NHS and police resources. Our rates of harm in the North East are often closer to Scotland than England.

“Minimum unit pricing will save lives, reduce hospital admissions and cut crime. What’s more, most of those lives saved will come from the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society. Here in the North East, where we have the worst rates of alcohol related hospital admissions and alcohol related deaths, we have the most to gain.”