SABMiller calls on Government to reconsider minimum pricing

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drink

SABMiller calls on Government to reconsider minimum pricing
A minimum price for alcohol of 45p per unit will disproportionately affect responsible drinkers on low incomes, with little impact on heavy drinkers, according to new research commissioned by global brewer SABMiller.

The research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and London Economics was highlighted by SABMiller in its response to the Government’s consultation on its Alcohol Strategy, which closed this week (6 February).

According to the research, a minimum price of 45p would have the greatest impact on low income consumers, particularly those living in Yorkshire, Wales and the East Midlands.

It also found that because consumption rises in line with income it would have no impact on the top 20% of earners – the group with the greatest proportion of hazardous and harmful drinkers.

A review of all the public health-funded evidence on the price sensitivity of drinkers also showed that heavy drinkers are the least responsive to increases in price.

Scott Corfe, senior economist at CEBR, said: “Our research shows that minimum pricing would be a regressive measure with responsible drinkers in the lowest income groups hit hardest financially.”

Patrice Muller, senior partner at London Economics, added: “We looked at all the studies funded by public health bodies in the US and UK and all but one came to the same conclusion: the people who change their drinking habits the most are moderate consumers. Heavy drinkers are the least affected by price.”  

Mike Short, SABMiller’s senior vice president of Industry Affairs, said: “By proposing minimum pricing the Government has chosen a poorly targeted policy which penalises the majority and ignores the specific behaviours of the minority of people who drink harmfully.

“People in the UK are drinking less than they used to and the average person already drinks less than the weekly recommended guidelines. We would urge the Government to carry out a further analysis of the evidence before forcing responsible drinkers to pay more.”

Related topics Legislation

Related news