Lifestyle Economics

Minimum alcohol pricing has failed


Housing and Planning

Mark Littlewood writes in The Times

Christopher Snowdon appears on BBC Radio Scotland

IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon has appeared on BBC Radio Scotland to discuss the success of minimum alcohol unit pricing, as a Public Health Scotland (PHS) report concluded the policy had a ‘positive impact’ despite data showing only a few negligible impacts on alcohol consumption and mortality.

Christopher said:

“Essentially, what this is all based on is the small drop in deaths in the first year of minimum pricing, which wasn’t anything out of the ordinary…”

Addressing the slower relative increase in alcohol mortality compared to England, Christopher further argued:

“England isn’t a perfect control group for Scotland, obviously there are various differences between the two countries…there is an assumption that the drop [in alcohol-related deaths] was caused by minimum pricing.

“Alcohol deaths across the UK went up – they actually went up by more in Scotland than England – and during the pandemic, the only alcohol you were allowed to buy was off-licence alcohol, which is supposed to be most affected by minimum pricing.

“For Public Health Scotland to come out and definitively say that this has worked is really not true, particularly when you look at the evidence…no impact on A&E attendance, no impact on crime, no impact on underage drinking, no impact on heavy and dependent drinkers, no impact on ambulance callouts…”

Listen to Christopher’s full appearance here (9:06).