Introducing minimum alcohol price of 40p per unit would save 1,000 lives each year

 

Raising the price of ultra-cheap lager, gin and vodka will save more than 1,000 lives each year, according to new research today.

In an article on bmj.com, John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund, calculated that the Coalition's proposal to set a minimum price of 40p per unit of alcohol would substantially cut hospital admissions and alcohol-related deaths.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, last month over-ruled his Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, some Tory backbenchers and the drinks industry to back the measure, saying the country could no longer tolerate “binge drinking.” He said: “The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities."

Research suggests that setting a 40p minimum price would push up the price of around one in 10 alcoholic drinks on supermarket shelves, particularly cheap strong cider, lager, gin, vodka and whisky. With the slow decline of pubs, around 80 per cent of alcohol consumed is now bought from shops and supermarkets have been accused of running irresponsible promotions to attract shoppers.

In the research, Mr Appleby calculated that a 40p minimum price would lead to 1,149 fewer deaths and 38,900 fewer hospital admissions – while a 50p minimum price would double those benefits.

Alcohol was much more affordable now than it was 30 years ago, he said, apart, from brief periods coinciding with economic recessions and lower disposable incomes; as a result, between 2002 and 2010 the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England doubled to 265,000 a year.

While the drinks industry has argued that minimum pricing will do nothing to tackle a culture of binge drinking, doctors, senior police officers and academics strongly support the policy.

Giving evidence to the Commons Health Select Committee yesterday, Professor Alan Brennan, of Sheffield University, said: “The evidence is absolutely completely overwhelming that if you increase prices people drink less alcohol. If you ask people in the street they’re not convinced but if you look at the evidence, all the studies show that when prices increase people reduce their consumption.”

The “hardest drinkers” were hit hardest by minimum pricing, Professor Brennan said, because half the units of alcohol bought by problem drinkers of all social classes cost less than 50p a unit.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
tv

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
film
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Secondary Teacher Great Yarmouth

    £115 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are currently work...

    Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

    £60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

    Special Needs Learning Support Assistant

    £60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

    PMLD Teacher

    £120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leiceste...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes