Research says basis for booze floor is wobbly

Marion Dakers
THE DRINKS industry has squared up to the government over a price floor for alcohol, after a study commissioned by a trade body suggested that figures used by the government in setting the policy are slightly squiffy.

The average amount of alcohol consumed per person in the UK has fallen by around 12.6 per cent between 2006 and 2010, more than double the drop that was forecast if a 50p per unit price floor had been introduced, according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA).

Yet the rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions has risen by a third between 2007 and 2010, casting doubt on ratios used by Sheffield University in its 2006 research for the government, CEBR added.

The WSTA has claimed that minimum pricing will not put a stop to binge drinking while penalising what it describes as “reasonable drinkers”.

A consultation into a 45p minimum unit price for England and Wales finished last week.

A similar move in Scotland has become snarled in legal challenges.