The chief executives of 12 major pub chains, nightclub groups and brewers have launched a last-ditch attempt to try to salvage proposals for minimum alcohol pricing.

In the letter published in today’s Daily Telegraph, they urge prime minister David Cameron to think again about the widely anticipated U-turn, which follows last month’s admission from the government that it was concerned about the impact on hard-pressed responsible drinkers.

“Minimum unit pricing will not solve all our alcohol-related ills but it will help to encourage responsible drinking and curb excessive drinking,” says the letter.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King and one of the signatories, claimed the easy availability of “excessively cheap alcohol” was causing “devastating” effects across society.

Peter Marks, chief executive of the Luminar Group, which runs 56 nightclubs in England, added that town centres were blighted by the consequences of binge drinking, with young people “pre-loaded” by drinking cheap alcohol at home.

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