Minimum pricing on alcohol would hand £700m in extra sales to the major supermarkets, new research has claimed.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said a 45p per unit price floor – as touted in Scotland – would generate hundreds of millions of pounds in additional revenue for the multiples and drinks companies, rather than topping up public coffers.

Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s would be the main beneficiaries of the change, the research claimed.

“Minimum alcohol prices would transfer large sums from consumers to those firms that retail and produce alcohol, but may target households that consume the most alcohol more directly than increases in alcohol taxes,” said Andrew Leicester, the report’s senior author.

“However, higher taxes would generate much-needed revenue. The government should seek to change European regulations on how alcohol taxes can be structured so taxes can mimic the impact of minimum prices while ensuring the resulting revenues go to the government and not firms.”

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