Lifestyle Economics

IEA: Evidence so far suggests minimum pricing in Scotland has been “an expensive flop”

Commenting on new evidence from the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of alcohol-related deaths fell in England by 145, fell in Wales by 13 and rose in Scotland by 16, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs Christopher Snowdon said:

“It’s welcome news that there were 158 fewer deaths related to alcohol in England and Wales last year than in 2017. This is in marked contrast to Scotland, where the introduction of minimum pricing coincided with a rise in alcohol-related mortality. 

“Minimum pricing was supposed to bring about an immediate reduction in alcohol-related mortality. Instead, Scottish drinkers have had to spend millions of pounds more to buy the same amount of alcohol – yet Scotland is the only part of Britain where alcohol-related mortality has risen. 

“We await further data with interest, but all the evidence so far suggests that minimum pricing in Scotland has been an expensive flop.”
Notes to editors:

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For further IEA commentary on Minimum Unit Pricing, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

2 thoughts on “IEA: Evidence so far suggests minimum pricing in Scotland has been “an expensive flop””

  1. Posted 09/12/2019 at 22:01 | Permalink

    Scotland was lied to by Scottish Government as this extra tax was supposed to be on cheap cider and cheap vodka. It never was and has raised the price of popular brands of our national tipple by £6-7 per litre. At the same time the “nanny state” put a sugar tax on soft drinks. Of course it has all been a failure. We just go down Thunder Road to England and pay the right price!

  2. Posted 11/12/2019 at 15:11 | Permalink

    I’m neither an econmist nor a physician, but as someone who lost my wife to alcohol at age 49, I’d suggest the lead time for alcohol-related death is rather more lengthy than the time minimum pricing has been in force.
    Let’s see what the stats reveal in three or four years’ time? By then, we may make a judgement as to the efficacy of the policy.

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