Developing Ideas

Reforms to Alcohol Policy

Averroes responded to the Home Office consultation which sought views on proposals to review the Government’s Alcohol Policy proposals.

The aim of the consultation was to gauge the opinion of interested parties on reforms to encourage responsible drinking. The Home Office sought input on the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, the banning of multi-buy promotions in supermarkets, and a review of licensing laws in the UK.

Averroes responded to the consultation in support of the proposed measures. The document submitted can be downloaded here. A summary of our response was as follows:

Minimum Unit Pricing

  • Averroes stated its support for the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in England. We suggested that government should introduce a minimum unit price of 50p, which would be in line with proposals in Scotland.

  • Evidence from the University of Sheffield also suggests that 50p would be a more appropriate minimum unit price, which would lower hospital admission rates, fewer crimes, and fewer days missed off from work due to alchol.

  • Minimum unit pricing works. Evidence from other countries such as Canada, where similar schemes have been implemented, demonstrate significant public benefits in the short and long term.

Multi-Buy Promotions

  • Averroes supports a ban on multi-buy promotions, without which would limit the effectiveness of minimum unit pricing.

  • In addition, we suggested that other offers should also be banned, including purchasing alcohol on supermarket loyalty schemes and excluding alcohol from discount couponing.

  • We believe young people in particular will benefit from these measures, as cheap alcohol will be less freely available to them.

Mandatory Licensing Conditions

  • Averroes suggested that licensing conditions need to be reviewed. For example, units of alcohol should be clearly displayed on packaging so that people can track their alcohol intake in a clear fashion.

  • We suggest that age verification schemes need to be more strictly enforced to protect young people from underage drinking. We also suggest that the minimum age for drinking should be increased to 21.

  • We suggest that pubs and bars should limit promotions which encourage excessive drinking, such as happy hours, theme nights and organized pub crawls.

Conclusion

Averroes was in general supportive of the Government’s measures. The overwhelming amount of evidence suggests that excessive alcohol intake results in a huge economic burden on the British taxpayer which must be addressed in a sensible fashion. The measures suggested by the government have the backing of experts in public health who suggest the measures are likely to have a positive health and sociological effect.

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