Minimum price ‘best tactic’

Minimum unit pricing and strength-based taxation are the most effective ways of tackling the harmful consumption of alcohol in the UK, claims a new report. Wine, supermarket (pricing story)

The study, by the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group, compared four different policy strategies for regulating alcohol prices in order to estimate how changes in pricing influence consumption levels and alcohol-associated deaths.

The group’s researchers com- pared four different policies: a 13.4% increase in duty for all products under the current UK system; a 4% tax based on product price; a strength-based tax of 22p per UK alcohol unit; and a minimum price of 50p per unit.
Dr John Holmes, senior re-search fellow at the group, said that minimum unit pricing and strength-based taxation “are better-targeted than the cur- rent UK tax system for reducing alcohol-related harm as they have larger effects on heavy drinkers and smaller effects on moderate drinkers”.