Lifestyle Economics

Minimum alcohol pricing evaluation is a ‘whitewash,’ says IEA expert


In the Media

Stephen Davies referenced in UnHerd

Commenting on Public Health Scotland’s (PHS) final report on the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP), Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“This is a whitewash that ignores most of the evidence from the government’s own evaluation. Research commissioned by Public Health Scotland shows that minimum pricing had no impact on crime, no impact on A&E attendances and no impact on the heaviest drinkers. Minimum pricing was supposed to make people drinking at harmful levels consume less alcohol. This did not happen. In fact, the heaviest drinking men have been consuming more.

“To claim that minimum pricing was a success, Public Health Scotland has had to ignore the bulk of the evidence and instead focus on a single modelling study based on a theoretical counterfactual. The reality is that alcohol-related deaths in Scotland are at their highest level in over a decade and remain much higher than in England.”

“Minimum pricing was promoted to politicians based on speculative modelling so it is apt that a speculative model is being used to save it from the sunset clause – but minimum pricing has only ever worked in the imaginations of a handful of academics. It has cost Scottish consumers hundreds of millions of pounds and deserves to be ditched.”


Notes to Editors

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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.

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