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BOOZE PLAN SLAMMED

PUBLISHED: 17:25 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:41 23 August 2010

PUBLICANS have slammed a health report advising the government to increase the tax on alcohol and punish ALL drinkers to combat anti-social behaviour. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report, published last Wednesday, said a price hike across the board

PUBLICANS have slammed a health report advising the government to increase the tax on alcohol and punish ALL drinkers to combat anti-social behaviour.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report, published last Wednesday, said a price hike across the board was the only option to combat the problem.

The advice has infuriated landlords in north Kent who claim they are taking the blame for parents who have little control. They also said the situation was made worse by some off-licences selling cheap alcohol to youngsters.

Terry Lee, 56, landlord at The Red Lion, Crete Hall Road, Gravesend, for 24 years, said: "I would love to know where these people get their ideas from. Why are they targeting pubs? It's kids, tramps and troublemakers buying Super Tenants from the off-licence and £5 bottles of vodka that's the problem."

He added: "I think the WHO would prefer it if people didn't drink any alcohol. I am 56, fit as a butcher's dog and I enjoy a pint. It is one of the few things I really enjoy. But it is so expensive now.

"They really are on very dodgy grounds what next? Are they going to shut down pubs? Yes, let's stop drinking alcohol, let's stop smoking, let's live forever and be the most boring people on the planet."

The report is the first attempt to limit harm from alcohol on a global scale from proposals in a single document.

Tracy Barrow, 44, manager of The Watt Tyler, High Street, Dartford, said: "I think the one thing they should do is do it in off-licences first. The number of kids you see out on a Friday and Saturday night is staggering. If you heard the abuse that comes out of their mouths, if they were my children they wouldn't dare. Where are their parents? That's the problem. They should sort that out before they increase prices.

The WHO began work on the global strategy in January. A draft version is due to be discussed by member states next month.

Dag Rekve, of the WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said:

"We look at the problem from a health perspective. It is up to governments, in their contexts, to take into account the available evidence and advice from experts. We are saying from a technical point of view that taxation and price changes are effective measures to reduce alcohol related harm, but the implementation might have unforeseen or unintended consequences in particular situations or contexts.

"Public health is what we are looking to protect."

elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

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