Minimum alcohol pricing would help protect shopworkers from violence and enable independent stores to compete with multiples, retailers have claimed.

Renewed calls for a minimum unit price come after Cardiff University research found a link between higher alcohol prices and a 12% drop in the number of people injured in violent incidents across England and Wales last year.

A minimum unit price of 45p was initially given the thumbs up but the Government dropped the policy in 2013

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, director of the university’s violence and society research group, said changes in alcohol habits were a probable explanation.

“Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youth who don’t drink alcohol at all has risen sharply,” he said.

NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter said: “In the light of these new statistics we are renewing calls for the Government to think again about minimum pricing.

“It’s our belief that this will reduce alcohol consumption even further as well as going some way towards helping hard-pressed independent retailers compete against multiple chains on pricing.”

Independent retailers said it would make it easier to compete with ultra-low supermarket booze prices, but some worried it could ultimately impact on shoppers’ purses.

Premier retailer Pratik Sampat said: “It would definitely make it fairer for independent retailers to compete with the supermarkets and it would be a good first step in tackling antisocial behaviour.”

Bridgend retailer David Baynham said: “Not everyone is an alcoholic and it’s the people who drink responsibly who will be punished by a minimum price.”