The Welsh Government’s proposals for a minimum unit price of 50p for alcohol has been warmly welcomed by The Salvation Army as a significant step on the road towards helping thousands of people struggling with alcohol misuse across Wales.
Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething’s announcement today (13 March) that minimum unit pricing would be introduced—as part of a wider Public Health Bill—means that alcohol will be priced according to its strength to combat the growing availability of cheaper, stronger alcohol on the high street.
Speaking in response to the Welsh Assembly Member’s announcement, Major Lynden Gibbs, The Salvation Army’s Addiction Support Officer said:
“The Salvation Army welcomes the Welsh Governments position on minimum unit pricing (MUP) and we are encouraged by Assembly Member Vaughan Gething’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of those living in Wales and the increased focus on the harm caused by the dependent use of alcohol.”
“Since it was founded in the nineteenth-century, The Salvation Army has worked with women and men with problematic substance use and we continue to do so today; offering preparation, detox and aftercare services, along with psycho-social support, education and training here in Wales.
“It is in our day-to-day work within our churches or corps, Lifehouses, outreach projects, Housing First and complex needs projects that we witness first-hand the devastating effect alcohol dependency can have on individuals and their friends and families.
“Addiction not only impacts on the individual’s sense of self, their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health; it also impacts across a wide range of issues relating to social inclusion; such as employment, relationships and finance, to name a few.”
The Salvation Army has been a long-term supporter of the Welsh Government’s attempts to tackle the devastating effects of alcohol misuse on individuals and communities and has recently published an Addictions Strategy which advocates a ‘whole life’ approach to the prevention, support and treatment of alcohol and drug addiction.
The strategy sets out the church and charity’s clear commitment to continue to bolster the Welsh Government in its delivery of extensive social programmes helping individuals, families and communities to make positive choices about the role of alcohol in their lives.
The Salvation Army’s Addictions Strategy also sets out to address the disproportionately high problems associated with alcohol misuse among poorer communities; as Major Gibbs explained:
“Through our work with those who are the most marginalised and excluded from society, we know that all too often it is within these vulnerable communities that the effects of alcohol misuse is often at its most damaging.“According to the Welsh Index of Deprivation (WIMD), those from the most deprived communities are much more likely to be admitted to hospital, or die, as a result of harmful drinking than their better off counterparts.”