Some supermarkets use cheap lager as a loss-leader to entice people into their stores - cans for as little as 23p in Asda being a case in point.
There is conclusive proof from Finland that cheaper alcohol leads to greater consumption and alcohol-related illness.
On health grounds alone there is a case - as is currently being made in Scotland - for a minimum price for alcohol to reduce alcohol abuse.
It could also have a knock-on effect of encouraging more people back into our community pubs, which are being killed off at a rate of knots by their inability to compete with the supermarkets and the high charges being levied by the pub chains in rent and tied beer agreements. Pub alcohol sales are 24.5% down on 2002 levels, while off-sales (in supermarkets and off-licences are up 12%). The GMB union, which organises pub landlords, estimates that a £1 on every pint in a tied pub goes to the company owners in rent and beer charges alone.
As a result of this squeeze, we are losing good pubs like the Walnut and Seven Stars while more and more teenagers are ending up drinking industrial-strength cider in the park.