Public health agency to examine case for alcohol minimum pricing

By Mike Berry contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcohol minimum pricing, Epidemiology

PHE is to re-examine the evidence for introducing alcohol minimum pricing
PHE is to re-examine the evidence for introducing alcohol minimum pricing
The spectre of alcohol minimum pricing has been raised once again in a new policy paper from Public Health England (PHE).

The document From evidence into action: opportunities to protect and improve the nation’s health​, sets out the health agency’s priorities for the next five years.

One of the seven stated priorities is ‘reducing harmful drinking’, measured by a reduction in the number of hospital admissions due to alcohol.

PHE claims that nine million adults drink at levels that ‘increase the risk of harm’, with liver disease on the rise and cites that the cost to society of alcohol harm runs to £21bn a year – a figure that has been criticised by trade figures as misleading.


Over the next 18 months, PHE says it will continue to set out the evidence base for the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol. The Government shelved plans for minimum pricing last year, instead opting to introduce a ban on selling alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT.

The paper also says it will consider the evidence for the inclusion of health as a licensing objective, alongside producing a new report for ministers on the wider public health impacts of alcohol.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: “We have an ambition: for people of this country to live as well as possible, for as long as possible. But on current trends, we are going to fall short because we face an epidemic of largely preventable long-term diseases.

“We may be living longer, but we – and future generations – risk spending many of these extra years in poor health unless we do a better job of tackling major risks such as obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.”

Related topics: Health & safety

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Posted by ken nason,

It seems the cart is well before the horse in this case.

It will take 18 months to set out the evidence base for minimum pricing but according to all we read they have already decided that it is to happen(apparently without the need this evidence base)

Seems like the evidence is being made up to fit the desire to restrict drinking.

Now where have we seen this happen before? Why of course the "evidence" base for the smoking ban(and now e-cigs!)

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It's useless

Posted by Vince,

We've had minimum pricing for quite a few years now & it hasn't produced the desired results.There's a history to this.Lobbyists (mainly prohibitionists) were trying to push this through but it kept being turned down as it wasn't popular.Then (to be short) a young man (legal age) was mugged & killed.Somehow minimum pricing became a method of preventing this-so it was enacted.

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Public health agency to examine case for alcohol minimum pricing

Posted by Bob Price,

Both the government's of New Zealand and Australia have commissioned studies on the effectiveness of minimum unit pricing and have concluded not to proceed with it.

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