MPs call for price hike on bottles of cheap £3 cider in Doncaster after meeting liver damage patients

Two Doncaster MPs have called for action to tackle the "devastating impact" caused by cheap cider in the town.

Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 09:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 09:36 am
MPs Caroline Flint and Ed Milband have called for a clampdown on huge bottles of cheap cider after meeting patients with liver damage in Doncaster.

MPs Caroline Flint and Ed Miliband have made the call after meeting people in Doncaster whose lives have been wrecked by huge bottles of cheap cider - which can cost as little as £3.

The pair want the Government to tackle the problems of illness caused by the super-sized bottles after touring Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s Gastroenterology Ward, which treats people with alcohol-related liver disease.

They met patients and saw first-hand the impact alcohol has on hospital admissions.

The MPs were told that certain drinks - in particular 3-litre bottles of strong cider which can be bought for as little as £3 in Doncaster - caused a huge number of problems.

Mr Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, said: "By meeting a number of patients I was able to see for myself the effect of cheap alcohol consumption on individuals.

"It's important to raise awareness about the impact of alcohol on our hospitals, and on Doncaster's communities, and look at solutions to the problem - including an increase in the price of certain products, such as large bottles of strong cider.

“I welcome the work of the Alcohol Health Alliance, and the work Dr Agrawal is doing here in Doncaster."

The visit was part of the Alcohol Health Alliance’s (AHA) ‘Day of Action’, organised by Consultant Gastroenterologist Dr Anurag Agrawal.

Ms Flint, MP for Don Valley, said: “From the visit and conversations with Dr Agrawal, his team and patients, it is clear that excessive alcohol consumption and cheap alcohol is having a devastating impact on the lives of far too many people here in Doncaster.

“The ready availability of cheap alcohol is a huge part of this, and tackling the low cost of alcohol, as well as discouraging excessive consumption, should both be priorities for the Government. We will be raising the matter with Chancellor Philip Hammond."

In 2015, brands such as Frosty Jacks and White Lightning were targeted as the worst culprits, with a leading charity calling for the drinks to be withdrawn from sale.

Thames Reach, which helps thousands of homeless people in the south east, said Frosty Jack's should be taken off the shelves until its alcohol content is reduced.

The charity’s Mike Nicholas said: “We are not anti alcohol and not against cider. We’d be happy to sit down and have a pint with the manufacturer if it was not 7.5 per cent.

“But we know these super strength ciders are problem drinks - responsible for a lot of early deaths, poor health and anti social behaviour.”

Extra strong cider White Lightning was discontinued by Heineken after complaints from Thames Reach.