Alcohol Research UK’s initial response to the Alcohol Strategy consultation

Alcohol Research UK supports the aim of the Alcohol Strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm in England and Wales.

We welcome the fact that the Government has considered the evidence demonstrating a relationship between cost, consumption and alcohol-related harm.

The proposed 45p level is predicted to reduce overall consumption by 3.3%, with the impact being most pronounced on those drinking at hazardous and harmful levels.  However, the Government will need to consider the risk of cross-border purchase if it adopts a minimum price below that proposed for Scotland (50p).

Alcohol Research UK has a long record in analysing the impacts of alcohol policy, and we would strongly recommend that a clear system of monitoring and evaluation is introduced to track the impact of MUP on both consumption and alcohol-related harms.

The consultation also seeks views on banning multibuy offers for alcohol.  Current evidence is inconclusive regarding the impact of multibuy bans, and suggests such restrictions are most effective if introduced alongside wider pricing interventions. [i]

The consultation asks for views on the introduction of a limited public health licensing objective.  Experience from Scotland shows that clear guidance for health authorities and licensing teams is needed to effectively implement this policy.[iii]  Alcohol Research UK are currently supporting research on the role of health in licensing in England and Wales, and will feed those findings into our consultation response.

We will produce a full response to the consultation in due course.

[i] NHS Health Scotland (2012) Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy: preliminary descriptive analysis of the quantity discount ban in off-trade alcohol sales in Scotland 

Health Committee (2012) Government Alcohol Strategy, p. 23

Purshouse, R et al. (2010) ‘Estimated effect of alcohol pricing policies on health and health economic outcomes in England: an epidemiological model’, The Lancet 375. 1355-64

[iii] Alcohol Focus Scotland (2011) Rethinking Alcohol Licensing