Tuesday 17 November 2020

Another minimum pricing fail

Lockdowns and pub closures are going to play havoc with the minimum pricing evaluation in 2020/21, but we will still have two years of data with which to assess the policy. Today saw the publication of alcohol-related hospital admission figures for 2019/20 in Scotland. As with the previous year's figures, they give supporters of minimum pricing nothing to cheer.
The most recent edition of the Sheffield model predicted 1,299 fewer admissions in the first year (a decline of around 4%), rising year-on-year thereafter.

The prediction for the first year fell flat, with the number of admissions rising from 35,544 to 35,712 between 2017/18 and 2018/19. To be fair, minimum pricing was introduced in May so one of the 2018/19 months was pre-MUP, but the number of admissions rose again - to 35,781 - in 2019/20, so that is no excuse. 

Adjusted for population, the rate has dropped very slightly, from 668.8 per 100,000 people in 2017/18 to 666.6 per 100,000 people in 2019/20; a decline of 0.3% in two years.

Not quite the game-changing policy we were led to believe, then. And it is costing Scottish consumers tens of millions of pounds a year.

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