British opinion is evenly split over whether the Government should introduce minimum alcohol prices, and also disagree over proposed prices for beer and spirits under Government plans.
- 47% support enforcing a minimum price for alcohol in shops and bars
- A significant 44% are against a minimum price
These findings roughly concur with the findings of a YouGov SixthSense studyfrom last year, and show that support for a minimum alcohol price has remained more or less stable. These findings are also reflected in the lack of consensus about ‘right’ prices for drinks, with no majority coming down on either side of the pricing debate.
- 38% think that the suggested lowest price for a can of beer, between 38p and 78p, is about right
- But a similar proportion (33%) feels that this price is too low, while 14% think it is too high
- And while 42% think the minimum legal price for a litre of spirits, at £11, is well placed
- A significant 22% feels it is too low, while 25% consider it to be too high
'Not far enough'
The proposed measures aim to stop shops and bars selling alcohol for what has been termed ‘pocket-money prices’ and make sure that they are at least sold above cost price, which is the rate of duty plus VAT. The changes are being instigated by the Government in an effort to help reduce crime and deter people from unhealthy ‘binge-drinking’ sessions.
However, the plans have been widely criticised by health professionals for not going far enough. Professor Gilmore of the Royal College of Physicians told the BBC that the minimum price represents ‘an extremely small step. It will have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of cheap drinks sold in supermarkets’, he said.