If you want a realistic idea of how much difference a 50 pence-per-unit price will make to drinking and alcohol-related harm, consider the difference in the health and safety of the nation between 2005 and today. And then halve it. If that doesn’t seem a very impressive outcome, prepare to be underwhelmed and overcharged by minimum pricing.
This week, the Centre for Economics and Business Research published research that puts a good deal of meat onto the bones of that observation by comparing the Sheffield model to what has actually happened in England.
Actual mean alcohol consumption per person in England has fallen by 12.6 per cent in the period 2006-2010. This is almost twice the reduction in consumption predicted by Sheffield University under a 50p MUP policy and nearly five times as much as what was predicted under a 40p MUP...
Sheffield’s prediction was that every 1 per cent reduction in consumption would deliver a 1.7 per cent reduction in alcohol-attributable deaths... in actuality, for every 1 per cent reduction in consumption, a less than 0.1 per cent reduction in alcohol-attributable deaths has been reported.
Cebr’s research reveals an annual increase in alcohol-related admissions of 7.7 per cent in 2007 and of a further 35.3 per cent in the three years between then and 2010. The implied annual average increase for the period 2006-2010 of 11.4 per cent means that, in actuality, for every 1 per cent reduction in consumption, there has been a 0.9 per cent increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions.
You can read the full report here (PDF).