The plan to use local bylaws to set a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit is gaining momentum among councils, writes John Harrington. The proposal is spearheaded by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and has been endorsed by local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside. Health chiefs in Liverpool and Cheshire are to set up a joint working group to explore minimum pricing, which will include consultations with the public and research into young people’s attitudes to alcohol. Charlie Barker, of the Liverpool City Region Safer, Healthier Communities Board, said: “We are particularly concerned about the effect on young children who can buy alcohol at pocket-money prices.” Balance North East, the part government-funded health body, is campaigning for councils in the region to support the proposal. Colin Shevills, a director at Balance, said: “It’s still a bit early for us in terms of councils going public [in support], but there are debates going on in a number of local authorities.” Mike Jones, alcohol programme Manager at the Greater Manchester Public Health Network, said other authorities that have shown initial interest are Shropshire, Sheffield, and Brighton, where he will visit to discuss the proposal on 26 November. Jones said the plan is to form a “coalition” of authorities to make the case to Government. “There are other issues that we’re going to have to take into consideration,” he added. “We know, for instance, that the Government is going to review the bylaw legislation by Christmas, so we will have to assess the outcome together with other Government reviews currently being undertaken.” The AGMA’s plan is being taken to the chief executive of the AGMA’s health committee on 26 November. During a visit to Manchester in August, David Cameron said he was “very supportive” of the plan and would “look at it very sympathetically”, although he feared it could breach competition law. MSPs will today vote on minimum pricing proposals. Check back late for more details