Saturday, 13 April 2019

Minimum pricing - a brief overview

I've written an introduction to minimum pricing for Freer.

If a minimum price of 50p is ‘evidence-based’, then what would a minimum price of 60p or 70p be? The Sheffield model suggests that a 70p unit price would be more effective in reducing alcohol-related harm than a 50p unit price. Presumably, a £3 unit price would ‘work’ even better, but nobody is seriously calling for it. Why? Because it would increase the cost of living and make drinking unaffordable for many people. But so does a 50p unit, and it is easy to detect of element of snobbery here. It is deemed acceptable to increase the cost of living for people who tend to buy cheap alcohol, but not for those who can afford more expensive brands. MUP targets off licence beer while leaving the price of champagne untouched. 

Drinking is not illegal, nor is it illegal to exceed the government’s gerrymandered guidelines. Insofar as there are external costs associated with alcohol consumption, they are comfortably exceeded by alcohol duty revenues. MUP is a shamelessly paternalistic and patently regressive policy. Unnecessary and seemingly ineffective, it has no place in a free society. 

Have a read of it.

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