Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices

Department of Health written question – answered on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Social Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of minimum unit pricing of alcohol on social inequalities related to alcohol misuse.

Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Social Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of minimum unit pricing of alcohol on heavy drinkers from low income groups.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Public Health England published an evidence review on the public health impact of alcohol and the effectiveness of policies for reducing alcohol-related harm in December 2016. The review concluded that reducing the affordability of alcohol is the most effective way of reducing alcohol harm and targeted pricing measures are particularly effective at reducing harm in those groups most at risk. The review also found that targeting price increases at the cheapest alcohol is very effective and cost-effective and is able to substantially reduce harm in heavy drinkers without affecting moderate drinkers or the price of alcohol sold in pubs and bars. Modelling studies by the University of Sheffield on the impact of minimum unit price was shown to have a positive impact in closing the health inequalities gap between those in the highest and those in the lowest socioeconomic groups. These studies are available at:

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.661445!/file/Final_mup_iba_report.pdf

Minimum unit pricing and its effects will continue to remain under review pending the impact of its implementation in Scotland.

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