Thursday 23 January 2020

More evidence that minimum pricing was a flop

The evaluations of minimum pricing, such as they are, keep on coming. The latest looks at the drinking habits of 13 to 17 years who 'reported that they were drinking before and after MUP was introduced'. Fifty of them, to be precise.

Here are the findings...

The study found that money and price changes were not perceived to be barriers to drinking by the children and young people interviewed.
The price of alcohol was not seen as an important factor in their drinking behaviour, and overall they did not report changing what they drank, how much they drank or how they obtained their alcohol, in response to price alone.


The young people who reported that their favoured drink had increased in price tended to carry on drinking it because they said the price rise was not much and they could still afford it

Oh dear.

The study found no reported changes in the extent or nature of alcohol-related harms amongst the young people interviewed, following the introduction of MUP.

Hey ho, never mind. It was worth a try. (Narrator: It wasn't worth a try).

These results are not encouraging for those who wibbled on about the need to end 'pocket money prices' for the sake of the children. Let's recall what the Alcohol Health Alliance's Ian Gilmore said in 2016:

“In spite of a government commitment to tackle cheap, high-strength alcohol, these products are still available at pocket money prices. Harmful drinkers and children are still choosing the cheapest products - predominantly white cider and cheap vodka."

Apparently they weren't.

Interesting as this is, I hope we're going to get some quantitative evidence from the evaluation process soon. Studies based on statements from a small group of people are of limited value. However, when combined hard evidence that the sale of alcohol from shops rose after minimum pricing was introduced, and that the number of alcohol-related deaths rose in 2018, today's study is another piece of the jigsaw suggesting that minimum pricing has been a flop.


The BBC initially covered this story under the headline '"No impact" of alcohol pricing impact on young'.

But within a couple of hours - perhaps after a few phone calls from their friends in 'public health' - it was changed to this...

And they wonder why they are losing people's trust.  

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