Monday 18 October 2021

Minimum pricing isn't working

Promises, promises

More evidence from the minimum pricing evaluation has been published and it seems that the policy has failed to achieve one of its main aims. The infamous Sheffield model predicted that a 50p minimum price would lead to 3,500 fewer crimes in the first year. 

Charlie Peters has the details...

Supporters of Scotland’s regressive alcohol legislation took a hit this week when it was revealed that minimum unit pricing had only had a ‘minimal effect’ on drink-related crime.

A Manchester Metropolitan University study looked at Police Scotland data collected since 2015. It found that there were no statistically significant changes in alcohol-related crime, disorder and public-nuisance offences after 2018, when a minimum price of 50p per unit was introduced.

Saying it had a 'minimal effect' is flattering to the policy. There was no measurable impact at all.

"On the whole, the limited discernible impact of MUP on alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance suggests that the reduction in off-trade alcohol sales that followed implementation is below that required to deliver a reduction in crime," Prof Bannister added.
"Or, if crime did reduce, it has done so at a scale that the evaluation could not identify".

You may recall that the same modellers predicted that lowering the drink drive limit would reduce road traffic fatalities by 6 per cent. It did nothing of the sort.

The rest of the real world evidence on minimum pricing is far from compelling. There was a fall in alcohol consumption after the policy was implemented, but it was not accompanied by any decline in alcohol-related A & E admissions, nor in alcohol-related hospital admissions. The number of alcohol-related deaths fell in 2019, but rose sharply in 2020 (as they did in England - at about the same rate). The policy has cost Scottish drinkers tens of millions of pounds.

Naturally, the state-funded pressure group Alcohol Focus Scotland is not taking this lying down. They ar demanding the floor price be raised to 65p.

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