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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

 
 

News Comment Scottish Minimum Alcohol Pricing

"We welcome the Scots lead on minimum pricing for alcohol. It seems that the agreement has been reached on the basis that this policy will be evaluated over next 5 years

We do wonder at the need for this when there is 20 years of evidence from Canada which demonstrates a clear fall in consumption with minimum pricing. Importantly it does not affect the price of alcohol in pubs and we believe that pubs have a hugely important role in promoting sensible drinking.

It has been estimated that if a 50p per unit minimum price were set, it could save 2930 lives per year and save £6.2 billion in health costs over 10 years, not to mention the savings in crime, anti-social behaviour, policing and family support. Pricing obviously isn’t the only answer; marketing, availability, education, screening and treatment are also important if we are to tackle the enormous drain that alcohol has become on our economy.

Objections from libertarians on the basis of this measure penalising the poor need to recognise that minimum pricing has wide support from organisations who work with those on low incomes, and the pricing sends an important message about reducing consumption. We hope the English government will speed up its plans to introduce minimum pricing”.