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29/08/2014

Minimum Unit Pricing in a Welsh Context

Another report from this summer supports the implementation of minimum unit pricing (MUP) as an effective tool for reducing alcohol-related harm.

This report from the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse (APoSM), a Welsh Government sponsored body, recommends that the Welsh Government should introduce MUP to assist the vulnerable groups most affected by hazardous and harmful levels of drinking.

It recognises that in recent years alcohol has become steadily more affordable; not only do people now have higher disposable incomes, but alcohol is also cheaper in real terms. Indeed, alcohol was 61% more affordable in the UK in 2012 than it was in 1980. Although no firm conclusions can be drawn, alcohol consumption has certainly increased with rising affordability (see this NHS profile of alcohol and health in Wales, page 18).

As cheaper drinks tend to be favoured by those who drink more dangerously, minimum unit pricing would have a ‘disproportionate targeting effect’ on problematic drinking in Wales, according to the report. The effects of MUP would vary for different subgroups of the population, with those drinking alcohol more harmfully being impacted far more than moderate drinkers.

It concludes that despite the ongoing debate, there is an ‘extensive’ evidence base for minimum unit pricing and that the modelling of the effects of MUP in a UK context is well-founded and robust. Another addition to the arguments for minimum unit pricing.