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FEATURES

Tuesday 20th October

Tax to Tackle Excessive Drinking As the Conservative Party discuss a new initiative to combat binge drinking, Leeds A&E is over run with teenage casualties.

Megan Edwards Reporter

would not be able to continue selling alcohol at below cost price- a trait which most supermarkets show at present in an attempt to attract shoppers in the hope that they will buy other things. Licensing laws would also be changed to give councils the power to close down institutions such as off licenses that did not comply with the regulations. One thing that can be said without doubt is that there is a very real problem with binge drinking, as research has found that almost six million people- mostly under 25’s, binge drink every week. Excessive drinking in young people has many detrimental health effects and can seriously harm the development of the human body. The problem is particularly prominent here in Leeds, and since term started this year, the numbers of 18-21 year olds going to accident and emergency has doubled. During Freshers’ Week alone, 366 young people in this age group went to Leeds General Infirmary’s Accident and Emergency department. Binge drinking not only has a severe negative impact on the body, but also causes social problems

A wave of discussion has been circulating the public regarding the Conservative Party’s initiatives to combat teenage binge drinking which were announced earlier this month. After the news emerged that a conservative government would introduce tax rises of up to £1.50 per bottle on alcopops, super strength beer and cider, many people have questioned the effectiveness of this strategy. The reason behind the proposed changes is that the Conservative Party feels that it is much too easy for young people to get drunk very quickly at a low cost, on drinks such as ‘White Diamond’. Instant punishments such as being ‘grounded’ for a month may also be introduced for antisocial behaviour offenders, as well as community service. The proposal would not affect those who drink sensibly and in moderation, as the prices of ordinary drinks served in pubs, such as pints of larger and bitter or a glass of wine, would remain the same. The strategy would also mean that supermarkets

such as young people entering difficult cycles which are hard to break, with increased likelihood of teenage pregnancies and unemployment through excessive drinking. However, although binge drinking is clearly a problem, there is doubt as to whether this proposed strategy would be effective. Is the price increase really substantial enough to create a change? If people want to get drunk, they want to get drunk and it seems unlikely that a minimal difference would stop them. Students in London still binge drink, despite having to pay averages of £8 per drink, showing that even very high prices don’t appear to have a great effect on alcohol consumption. Another factor which seems to have been overlooked is that surely if the prices of cheap alcohol increase, teenagers will choose to spend more money on stronger drinks such as vodka, which could lead to even more severe effects. In more extreme cases, people may even choose to experiment with drugs, as the government have no control over the prices of illegal substances- some

of which can be accessed at low prices. It should also be considered that perhaps if prices are increased, young people may turn to crime and theft in order to fund their drinking habits. As it appears that attempts to discourage young people from binge drinking have had limited effectiveness in the past, perhaps a better way to combat the problemparticularly in underage drinkers, would be to prevent them accessing alcohol in the first place, by introducing much stricter measures regarding the purchase of drink for these people. Perhaps increasing prices would alter the behaviour of future generations and would create positive changes in the long term, but in terms of targeting the youth of today, it seems unlikely that these measures will make a noticeable difference. Whatever happens, it is clear that the government are addressing the issue and that perhaps we should all try to drink a bit more responsibly, or the legal drinking age may even rise to 21- a change that I’m sure would not be made very welcome by the students of Leeds!

The Soulfood Option Laura Garratt Reporter We students all know the feeling - you’ve just demolished yet another takeaway and are feeling that post-takeaway guilt that creeps in after the last mouthful. Leeds is rife with takeaways, most of which offer fast and cheap hangover cures or that late night kebab that you can’t do without. But what if there was a way that you could order food to rival your mums that will leave you and your conscience feeling nourished and full without blowing your budget? Graduate Andrew Mason has developed a unique cure for post-takeaway guilt in the form of The Soulfood Kitchen... “As a student I became sick of living off takeaways and energy drinks through

my final year, as I couldn’t get to the shops regularly. But luckily I lived close enough to home to be able to drop by for most Sun-

hearty dishes. The varied menu includes favourites such as Toad in the Hole and Cottage Pie, as well as homemade puddings

day roasts. This is what initially started me off with the idea”. In July of this year, Andrew set up The Soulfood Kitchen, a delivery only takeaway offering students fresh, homely and

such as Golden Syrup Sponge and Crumble. The Soulfood Kitchen is based around the concept of ‘your mum’s cooking, without the small talk,’ using fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from lo-

cal farms. “As a Leeds lad I’m proud of my Yorkshire roots, so much of the menu is influenced by this. Our seasonal menu is updated regularly online to take advantage of produce grown by our suppliers at different times of the year.” All of the Soulfood staff are students or graduates as Andrew wanted to create a fun and quirky company run by students, for students. The production kitchen in Hyde Park enables Soulfood to cook, prepare and deliver freshly cooked meals to order for cheaper than it would be to do it yourself. They also offer free delivery within a 2.5 mile radius. “The menu has been a huge success, and I’m really excited by the response we’ve had so far. We’re about real, good-

quality food at student prices, and I reckon once people get their heads around the idea, they’re pleasantly surprised by the quality of our food and service.”

For further information on The Soulfood Kitchen or to see their full menu, please visit www.thesoulfoodkitchen.com, or call 0113 2620155.

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As the Conservative Party discuss a new initiative to combat binge drinking, Leeds A&E is over run with teenage casualties. Laura Garrat...

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