Fewer than one in five people support minimum pricing

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum unit price, Alcoholism, Drinking culture, Wsta

Fewer than one in five (19%) of people support the introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol, according to new figures from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which today launches its campaign against the proposal.

New research from ComRes on behalf of the campaign, entitled Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More?, says 62% believe plans to increase the price of alcohol will not reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

Almost half (47%) say they’d feel angry at being punished for others’ irresponsible drinking, and 87% believe binge drinking will continue irrespective of the plans.

The WSTA pointed to Home Office data that shows plans to set a 45p minimum unit price will cost consumers in England and Wales more than £1bn extra per year. WSTA also said research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research also shows that it will hit the poorest hardest, with the lowest 30% of earners bearing the brunt.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “Evidence shows that there is no simple link between alcohol price and harm and we do not believe that increasing the price of alcohol will effectively tackle problem drinking. The recent polling clearly shows strong opposition to minimum unit pricing. Our campaign aims to warn the public that the Government’s plans to set higher alcohol prices will cost responsible drinkers more.

“Our campaign website www.whyshouldwepaymore.co.uk, which goes live today, allows people to get in touch with their local MP, through email or Twitter, to voice their opposition to minimum unit pricing. They can also sign an online petition and calculate the costs of the policy on their shopping baskets.

“The UK already has some of the highest alcohol prices in Europe, and given that alcohol consumption has fallen by 13% since 2004, these radical plans to increase the price of alcohol seem completely unfair, untargeted and ineffective.”

Meanwhile, health campaigners have already hit back at the WSTA campaign. The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) accused it of “using the tactics of Big Tobacco” to make its case.

The AHA said the move would save lives, hit young and heavy drinkers the hardest, and won’t affect moderate drinkers. It said many drinks would not be affected.

Related topics: Legislation

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