Iain Stewart is Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South. Follow Iain on Twitter.
I have considerable reservations about the efficacy of a minimum unit price for alcohol (MUP). I am concerned that it will penalise responsible drinkers but not tackle the problems of binge drinking.
I was therefore interested to see the edition of the Metro recently with a front-page story about a bold claim that a 30p rise in the price of a pint "can cut deaths by a third". It is important to look carefully at these claims.
They are based on research from the University of Victoria Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, Canada which asserts that between 2002 and 2009 a 10% increase in the average minimum price for all alcoholic drinks was associated with a 32% reduction in alcohol-related deaths.
Yet official hospital records paint a different picture. They show that the number of deaths from alcohol actually went up from 1073 in 2002 to 1169 in 2009! I am therefore concerned about the statistics on which UK MUP policy is being built.