14 pence!

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A UNIT of alcohol can be purchased in the borough for as little as 14 pence.

Coleraine councillors were given the figure at last Tuesday night’s Leisure and Environment meeting.

Kieran Doherty, Council’s Director of Environment Health, asked members for their views on a consultation paper which proposes to change how alcohol is priced.

The paper proposes to reduce the accessibility of alcohol by influencing how it is is priced, marketed and promoted.

Backing an option within the paper to increase the minimum unit pricing, UUP councillor David Harding said: “ Back in 1976 when I had my first legal drink, the price was 30 pence a pint. We are now in 2011 and you can still buy beer at that price.”

DUP councillor Maurice Bradley, who was chairing the meeting, agreed saying: “It is cheaper to buy alcohol these days than it is to buy water. This issue needs to go further than this Council, it should be looked at in Stormont.”

Outlining how the changes may affect drinkers, Mr Doherty explained that if the new pricing unit comes in to affect a three litre bottle of cider, costing £3.49 could rise to £12 if the consultation becomes legislation.

Commenting on the consultation, DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan added: “I feel that there should be more education for young people. Alcoholism costs the health service millions every year.”