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Nationwide campaign launched today reveals major public opposition to government's plans to hike up alcohol prices


The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is today launching a campaign - “Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More?” -  amidst growing opposition to the Government’s plans to set higher alcohol prices through minimum unit pricing.  The campaign will start the debate with ordinary people about the impact of the Government’s plans on them.


New polling by ComRes on behalf of the campaign reveals that the public do not believe that the proposed price hikes will be effective. The research showed that:

• 62% believe that the Government’s plans to increase the price of alcohol will not reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour
• Fewer than one in five overall (19%) support MUP
• 47% of the population claim they would feel angry at being punished for others’ irresponsible drinking
• 87% of people believe that binge drinking will continue irrespective of the plans to set higher alcohol prices

The Government’s plans to set a 45p minimum unit price will, according to its own figures, cost consumers in England and Wales more than £1 billion pounds extra per year. Research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research also shows that it will hit the poorest hardest – with the lowest 30% of earners bearing the brunt.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA, said:
“Evidence shows that there is no simple link between alcohol price and harm and we do not believe that increasing the price of alcohol will effectively tackle problem drinking. The recent polling clearly shows strong opposition to minimum unit pricing. Our campaign aims to warn the public that the Government’s plans to set higher alcohol prices will cost responsible drinkers more.

“Our campaign website www.whyshouldwepaymore.co.uk, which goes live today, allows people to get in touch with their local MP, through email or Twitter, to voice their opposition to minimum unit pricing. They can also sign an online petition and calculate the costs of the policy on their shopping baskets.”

“The UK already has some of the highest alcohol prices in Europe, and given that alcohol consumption has fallen by 13% since 2004, these radical plans to increase the price of alcohol seem completely unfair, untargeted and ineffective.”

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FACTS AT A GLANCE

A 50p minimum unit price would see 65% of alcohol prices in shops and supermarkets rise overnight.
• A bottle of wine (13% ABV) would rise in price from £3.69 to £4.88
• A bottle of vodka (37.5% ABV) would rise in price from £9.00 to £13.13
• A 12-pack of lager (4% ABV) would rise in price from £8 to £10.56

A 45p minimum unit price would see 52% of alcohol prices in shops and supermarkets rise overnight.
• A bottle of wine (13% ABV) would rise in price from £3.69 to £4.39
• A bottle of vodka (37.5% ABV) would rise in price from £9.00 to £11.81
• A 12-pack of lager (4% ABV) would rise in price from £8 to £9.50

Source: Nielsen Sales Data for England and Wales, Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy Report (MESAS) 2011

Recent forecasts from the OBR show that by 2018 we will be drinking about 2.4 billion fewer units of alcohol – that is without the Government setting higher alcohol prices. 
Source: Office of Budget Responsibility, Economic and Fiscal Outlook, December 2012

There is no real-world evidence to support the policy and minimum unit pricing has not been implemented anywhere in the world. Evidence for the policy is limited to modelling projections. 


NOTES TO EDITORS

The WSTA is the UK lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry’s interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

ComRes interviewed 2035 British adults online between 23 and 25 January 2013. Data was weighted to be representative of all adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk.
 
For more information please contact Aileen Keyes:

Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7089 3881
Mob:  +44 (0) 7504 498 656
Email: [email protected]

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