BARNSLEY Council is backing the call for the introduction of a minimum unit pricing for alcohol after evidence revealed that it could save local NHS services more than £500,000 per year.

The move is designed to reduce the availability of cheap, strong alcohol by setting a floor price below which a unit of alcohol cannot be sold.

Research from the University of Sheffield shows that a 50p minimum unit price would see alcohol consumption fall by twice the national average in some areas.

Based on the research, Barnsley’s NHS facilities would save £571,140 per year and 345 fewer associated crimes would be committed per year.

Coun Jim Andrews, cabinet spokesperson for public health, said: “This move would not affect the price of alcohol in pubs or for moderate drinkers.

“Those in most need of help for alcohol problems are more likely to buy stronger types of alcohol, and the scheme will seek to complement the access to treatment for those dependent on alcohol.”