A MOTION criticising the government’s controversial decision to do a U-turn on the minimum pricing of alcohol has been passed by Bury Council.

At the latest full council meeting, Labour councillors called for the coalition to reconsider and called the move a “chilling reminder” of big business’s influence.

The motion stated: “With no rationale or explanation on why the government has decided to renege on its commitment on minimum pricing, this council concludes intense public lobbying from alcohol producers has been prioritised over public health.

“This council recognises the public health benefits and reduced pressure on health and social care minimum unit pricing could bring and asks the Government to reconsider its U-turn on this policy.”

Cllr Gill Campbell, cabinet member for children and families, said at the meeting that 23 per cent of the deaths of 18 to 25-year-olds in the UK last year were due to alcohol.

She said minimum unit pricing could mitigate against the effects alcohol misuse and supermarket alcohol sales are having on the country, including unprotected sex among young people and hospital admissions.

She added: “It is disgraceful pubs are selling drinks at a loss — this is an uncontrolled supply of a dangerous, dangerous drug. Shockingly, young people in the borough can afford to buy a bottle of vodka a week out of their own pocket money.”

However, the motion was opposed by rival councillors.

Conservative councillor Roy Walker said the previous Labour government’s extensions of licensing hours forced a long-drinking culture.

He said: “Labour’s changes encouraged binge drinking — I was allowed to drink limited amounts with my parents growing up and because of this have never been drunk.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Donal O’Hanlon questioned why the previous Labour govern-ment didn’t bring in alcohol pricing years ago.