COUNCILLORS have resolved to help protect children from alcohol advertising.

The ruling Labour group brought forward a motion at last week's council meeting calling on the council to lobby the government to introduce a 9pm watershed for the advertising of alcohol on TV.

Members were told that there are 4,120 alcohol-related hospital admissions every year in Bury and that young people who start drinking at 16 are four times more likely to develop a dependency than someone who starts at 21.

Cllr Annette McKay said: "The effects of alcohol on health are irrefutable and, in the case of our children and young people, particularly harrowing."

She added: "Alcohol costs Bury, including police, social services, local employers, and the NHS, an estimated £73.8 million a year.

"That is £398 for every man, woman, and child living in Bury."

Cllr McKay told the meeting that the effects of excessive drinking at a young age include cancer, brain damage, coma, and increased chances of teenage pregnancy and of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

Labour colleague Cllr Rhyse Cathcart added that 255 young people were referred to an alcohol treatment service in the Bury borough last year.

Conservative councillors abstained from voting on the motion, which passed with Labour and Liberal Democrat support, saying that the motion was "restating the obvious" and would have little effect.

Cllr Ian Gartside, Conservative group leader, defended the government's current alcohol advertising policies, saying: "The government is committed to working with the industry to prevent any irresponsible promotions."

A 9pm watershed would have little effect given that most families can now record TV shows and watch them at any time, Cllr Dorothy Gunther.

Responding to claims from Tory councillors that the council had little power to influence government decisions, Cllr Rishi Shori said that Bury had been among the first local authorities to raise complaints over cigarette packaging and had helped to introduce restrictions into law.