SABMiller plc : 45p minimum unit price for alcohol to cost consumers ?659m each year

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SABMiller has today released independent research commissioned from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr)1 which shows that a 45p minimum unit price for alcohol will unfairly hit responsible drinkers in low-income families, while doing little to change the drinking habits of problem drinkers.

The report focuses on the impact on consumption, alcohol expenditure and disposable incomes across a number of demographic groups. The research shows that a 45p Minimum Unit Price for alcohol will:

cost all consumers ?659 million more each year. 2
mean the poorest 20% of people pay an additional ?318m each year while the richest 20% will only pay ?7m – the richest 10% will pay nothing in addition from this policy. 3
hit under-30s households hardest. 4
mean that non-retired couples with children (working parents) will face an increase in alcohol expenditure of ?162m. 5
disproportionately impact different regions so that people in Yorkshire and Humber will see an increase in alcohol expenditure of ?109m compared to London at ?42m. 6
Commenting, SABMiller’s Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs, Mike Short said:

“Minimum pricing is a poor piece of policy that will do little to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse and much to exacerbate the financial challenge facing moderate drinkers on lower incomes.

“We absolutely believe that action needs to be taken to address alcohol related harm but that would be best achieved through targeted policies which would genuinely help harmful and hazardous drinkers.”

Senior Economist at Cebr and author of the report, Scott Corfe, said:

“Our analysis shows that minimum unit pricing is not a targeted measure and would hit responsible drinkers in certain parts of society much harder than others.

“Those on the lowest incomes will be particularly hard-hit financially, bearing the brunt of the measure. This is despite the fact that health surveys show that those on higher incomes are more likely to drink to hazardous levels.

“Yorkshire & the Humber will be the region most financially hit by the measure, reflecting the fact that incomes in the region are relatively low and households are more likely to purchase cheaper alcohol products. The North West and Wales will also be affected significantly.”

Notes to editors:

The report was produced by Cebr, an independent economics and business research consultancy and commissioned by SABMiller. The main authors of the report are Oliver Hogan, Cebr Head of Microeconomics and Scott Corfe, Cebr Senior Economist.
Analysis by the Centre for Business and Economics Research, Minimum Unit Pricing: Impacts on consumer spending and distributional consequences, pg. 16
Ibid, pg.17
Ibid, pg.23
Ibid, pg.26
Ibid, pg.20