The government has been urged to adopt minimum unit pricing on alcohol by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN).

Its 16,000 members are backing comments from the chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, that the government’s upcoming ban on the below cost sale of alcohol does not go far enough in tackling the problem of binge drinking and alcohol fuelled crime.

In her annual report on the state of the nation’s health, Dame Sally criticised supermarkets for selling alcohol at "irresponsible" low prices, and pointed to modelled data that showed that a minimum unit price for alcohol would be more effective in the prevention of premature deaths.

The NFRN has long been supportive of the policy because of the impact alcohol-fuelled violence has on its members and their businesses.

Commenting on the report, NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter said: “We welcome the comments from the chief medical officer urging the government to think again about minimum pricing. Introducing this policy would help to protect independent news and convenience stores from incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime which are often fuelled by the cheap alcohol.

“We are now calling for a bill to enact the policy to appear in the upcoming Queen’s Speech.”