Another blow for drinkers as price floor hits

MODERATE and excessive drinkers alike will have to cough up more for alcohol under the government’s plan to set a minimum alcohol price, a report on which is due to be announced on Wednesday.

The government is expected to be presented with 40p, 45p and 50p as possible options for floors on the price of one alcohol unit – equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol– as part of its plans to curb problem drinking. This would make the cheapest bottle of wine in a supermarket or off-licence approximately £4.

Though the policy is supported by many health professionals, it has come under fire for the impact it could have on moderate drinkers’ budgets.

However the model upon which the minimum alcohol price policy is based is “bogus”, according to a study from the Adam Smith Institute out today, co-authored by expert statistician John Duffy.

Among its “deep flaws” are the assumption that heavy drinkers are more – not less – likely to reduce consumption in the face of price rises. The model also ignores other problems with price floors, such as the boost to the illicit alcohol trade and the poverty higher prices could push poorer drinkers into, the authors claim.

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