Minimum pricing evidence base is "non-existent"
The government’s plans for minimum pricing have a virtually non-existence evidence base and will prove a massive vote loser, according to two separate reports published today.
The Adam Smith Institute published a report claiming the coalition’s policy was based on “false assumptions and wild speculation”.
It attacked what it said was the flawed computer predictions in the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model used to predict the impact of minimum pricing.
“In the era of evidence-based policy, it seems that speculative statistics are considered superior to no statistics and a wrong answer is better than no answer,” said Christopher Snowdon, co-author of the report.
The model assumes heavy drinkers are more likely to reduce their alcohol consumption as a result of a price rise but the institute claims it contrasts with evidence that heavy drinkers are less price-sensitive.
The report also said the model ignores other potential negative social outcomes of minimum pricing, such as a likely increase in the illicit alcohol trade and the greater poverty it may push many consumers into.
Meanwhile corporate advisers Zolfo Cooper released a separate report based on research among more than 2,000 voters claiming 60% were against minimum pricing, with the majority big fans of discounted alcohol in supermarkets.
Meanwhile former health minister and Exeter MP, Ben Bradshaw, warned minimum pricing would be “devastating” for the cider industry. He also claimed there was “no evidence” it would reduce binge drinking.
“The government should drop this barmy plan now.” he said.