Alcohol ideas

The summary to last month's report to Westminster on alcohol (your report, 11 February) states: "UK deaths from liver cirrhosis increased more than fivefold between 1970 and 2006; in contrast, in France, Italy and Spain the number of deaths shrank between two and fourfold; this country's deaths from cirrhosis are now above all of them."

The price of alcohol is much lower in those countries.

The problems of excessive drinking are much more prevalent in Iceland and Scandinavia, where the price of alcohol is much higher than in the UK.

We should study the attitude to alcohol in mainland Europe rather than promote a knee-jerk reaction of increasing prices. Because of the licensing acts enacted during the 1914-18 war, many youngsters here see alcohol as a rite of passage.

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It may be hard work to reverse this problem handed down to us by previous generations but we must make an effort. Our target should be to move slowly to the legislation, pricing and social structures they have in France, Italy and Spain. Of course, this would reduce government income.


Hillview Terrace