Minimum alcohol pricing ‘will save 860 lives a year', experts claim
University of Sheffield said there was “no evidence” to support concerns that policy would penalise moderate drinkers
Fixing the minimum cost of a unit of alcohol at 45p would save hundreds of lives while costing moderate drinkers just 78p extra a year, experts have said.
In a report that leaves the Government’s strategy on harmful drinking in tatters, and raises further questions over the level of influence alcohol lobbyists had on policy, the University of Sheffield said there was “no evidence” to support concerns that minimum pricing would penalise moderate drinkers – the reason the Government gave for dropping the policy last year.
It found that three-quarters of the total reduction in alcohol consumption would be among the 5 per cent of the most serious problem drinkers.
The group who will be hit the hardest will be harmful drinkers on the lowest incomes, who, it is estimated, spend just under £2,700 a year on alcohol, around two-fifths of it on products priced at less than 45p per unit. The alcohol intake of people in this group is predicted to drop by 300 units, or around 150 pints of beer, per year, according to the report, which is published in The Lancet today.
In contrast, moderate drinkers on low incomes, who buy far less alcohol at below 45p per unit, would be predicted to spend on average just 4p more per year if minimum-unit pricing were introduced. Population-wide, the average increase in spending for an individual would be just 78p.
Introducing the policy in England could also cause 860 fewer alcohol-related deaths in a year, and 29,900 fewer hospital admissions.
Sir Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “It is time for the Government to stop listening to the vested interests of the drinks industry and act.”
The report comes just weeks after it emerged that the Government had buried previous evidence, also produced by the University of Sheffield, on the positive impact of minimum-unit pricing. At the Government’s request, the earlier report was published only after a minister had announced the minimum-price policy would be put on hold last year.
A spokesman said that minimum-unit pricing was still “under consideration” by the Government.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...
£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...