Unusually the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Licensing, Health and Safety and General Purposes Committee weren’t available. This led to a few jokes from the Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety as to what he’d Twitter about it following his recent coverage in the Wirral Globe of the Chair.
The Committee decided to (for this meeting only) have Cllr Ian Lewis (Cabinet Member for Community Engagement) as the Chair. The most interesting item on the agenda was a decision (following consultation) as to whether Wirral would recommend a minimum price (per unit ~50p) for alcohol as a local bylaw.
Many councillors told members of the public present and committee members about their favourite drinks, how alcohol was an issue that needed to be addressed but that putting up the price for Wirral residents wasn’t the answer. They also suggested that raising the price would lead to an increase in shoplifting. A quarter of the consultation responses were from the Birkenhead & Tranmere/Rock Ferry area.
Here were the results
39% agreed with a minimum unit price for alcohol (384 people)
16% had no strong opinion (159 people)
45% disagreed with a minimum unit price for alcohol (438 people)
44% agreed with a minimum unit price
14% had no strong opinion
42% disagreed with a minimum unit price
People cited issues such as anti social behaviour, young people drinking, violence, noise and criminal damage as some of the problems caused by alcohol. There was also a call for better policing and education.
In the end after a spirited debate the committee voted not to implement one of the “Access to Alcohol by Young People” report’s recommendations and press for a bylaw on Wirral. However with an election less than a month away would you have expected any politician to vote to increase the price of alcohol?
When I dig out my notes, I’ll provide a more detailed report of the meeting.