Minimum pricing

Alcohol Concern believe that there should be minimum unit price for alcohol of at least 50p.

Sign up to support minimum pricing

Alcohol Concern is urging all its supporters to sign the petition for a minimum price, calling on the UK Government not to backtrack on its plans for a minimum unit price for alcohol.

What is minimum pricing?

Minimum pricing sets a baseline price for alcohol, below which it cannot be sold. For example, if the minimum unit price for alcohol was set at 50p then a bottle of wine that contained 9.4 units could not be sold for less than £4.70.

Minimum pricing will primarily target high-strength alcohol that is sold very cheaply - products that are often drunk by the heaviest drinkers as well as younger drinkers. It will have very little effect on moderate drinkers. Some have argued that people on low incomes will be unfairly targeted. However, people on low incomes tend to consume the least alcohol whilst being disproportionately affected by alcohol related harm.  

Why should there be a minimum price for alcohol?

Alcohol-related harm remains one of the biggest health problems facing the UK. Over 10 million adults currently drink more than recommended guidelines, with 2.6 million drinking more than twice that. The health impacts are huge with alcohol contributing to 60 diseases and it's excessive consumption a significant cause of premature death in the UK. Alcohol-related harms cost the NHS £3.5 billion. In addition to the health problems, the impact on wider society is considerable. Alcohol-related crime is estimated to cost £11 billion a year and there are approximately 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are drinking hazardously and over 700,000 are living with dependant drinkers.

Over recent decades alcohol has become more affordable. By 2010, alcohol was 45% more affordable than in 1980.

It is now well established that there is a link between the price of alcohol and the level of harm that alcohol causes. The most effective way to reduce the costs of alcohol harm is to control price and availability of alcohol.

What will be the minimum unit price for alcohol?

In the Alcohol Strategy published in March 2012, the government committed to introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol. In November 2012 the Home Office released a consultation recommending a minimum unit price of 45p. Alcohol Concern, alongside many other organisations, are calling for a minimum unit price of at least 50p as this will have a greater impact on reducing alcohol-related harm and will be in line with what will be happening in Scotland where legislation has already been passed. The Home Office consultation runs until 6 February 2013 and you can respond on the Home Office website.

To read Alcohol Concern's summary of the consultation click here.

To read Alcohol Concern's full response to the consultation click here.

Further resources

Minimum pricing website


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