Great Britain

Supermarket plea not to offer cut price booze after Dry January

SUPERMARKET giants have been urged not to take advantage of the end of Dry January with cut-price booze offers. 

This January saw thousands of Teessiders put down the bottle as part of the Alcohol Change UK campaign. 

But Cllr Ann McCoy asked whether supermarkets and pubs were being monitored in the wake of the month at the latest health and wellbeing board. 

The cabinet member for adult social care said: “They’ve probably lost revenue over this month and I was wondering whether they had special offers on to lure people back?

“I wondered if someone was in contact with supermarkets to say, yes, you might have lost revenue but please don’t try to lure people back in with two-for-one deals.”

A task force has been formed in Stockton to try and deal with the £80m bill faced by the borough every year to deal with the impacts of booze. 

Almost 40 per cent of people in the borough drink to levels which hit their health. 

Cabinet colleague Cllr Jim Beall didn’t hold out much hope of changing the minds of supermarket bosses.

He added: “I’m more pessimistic about the ability to change commercial organisations who are there to make a profit – and they’re doing something which is legal.

“In some areas of the country they have had some supermarket chains agree to not to sell high alcohol cheap ciders – but then again, people can go to the corner shop.

“But point taken – if there is scope to open a dialogue with local supermarkets, it can’t do any harm.”

Hospital admissions for alcohol related conditions are above the national average across the board on Teesside. 

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger asked whether Dry January had actually had any effect on the ground – and whether people tended to have a blow-out come February.  

Nathan Duff, from Stockton Council’s public health team, told the board there was research which showed a dry month did make a long-term difference.

He added: “National data from Alcohol Change does show 72 per cent of people who take part do sustain healthier drinking up to six months afterwards. 

“That’s been the focus of some of our campaigns this year. 

“It’s just getting people to think about their relationship with alcohol.”