IN his latest column, the council's chief executive talks about drinks charges.

AS the town moves into the festive period, it is worth reflecting on how our consumption of alcohol has changed in the past few years.

A recent survey shows that 20 per cent of adults don’t drink and 16 to 24-year-olds are less likely to drink than any other age group – they are more likely to be found in a Costa.

More than 11,000 pubs have also closed.

Given these trends, should the health warnings about alcohol consumption begin to ease?

The answer is a firm ‘no’ as in reality actual consumption of alcohol is on the increase.

Mortality rates among the over 75s due to alcohol are at their highest since records began in the 1990s.

This is leading to a debate in which Warrington has a part to play regarding the minimum unit price of alcohol – a policy already successfully introduced in Scotland.

In essence, a minimum unit price is established for a particular drink.

The University of Stirling has established that the social consequences of alcohol consumption is now £55 billion per year and that means a cost to Warrington health services of approximately £10m per year.

Initially it was suggested that the minimum unit price should be determined locally but it was soon realised that this would not be enforceable without national legislation.

Pressure is now being applied to the Government to fix a minimum charge to act as an incentive for individuals to moderate their consumption.

This wouldn’t totally stop the problem but it is certainly a good step forward.

Frank Sinatra once said ‘alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but while the Bible says love your enemy’.

This statement is worth reflecting on during the festive season as we try to promote wellbeing for our town.