Putting a minimum price on alcohol could save lives. 1,149 a year to be exact, according to a study by the King's Fund on behalf of the British Medical Journal.

Admissions to hospitals because of over-doing it on booze doubled between 2002 and 2010. Alcohol-related deaths in the seven years to 2008 have followed a similar pattern too. And last month David Cameron said he intended to impose restrictions to curb the 'mayhem in our A&E units'.

The report reckons a minimum price on alcohol of 40 pence per unit could also result in 38,900 fewer hospital admissions and a 2.4% reduction in consumption annually. And that those effects could be doubled if the minimum was 50p per unit.

Some drinks producers and supermarkets disagree with the proposals, saying there was no proven link between price and alcohol consumption. Supporters of British breweries and beer drinkers, like the Campaign for Real Ale and the Society for Independent Brewers, cautiously welcomed them though. Their main bug bear is the big difference between beer prices in pubs and the off-trade, which in some cases is forcing pubs to close. They say it's a good thing if restrictions promote responsible drinking in local community pubs instead of drinkers 'loading up' on cheap booze at home before a big night out.