Supermarkets will be forced to charge more for some  products, under a minimum price

Supermarkets will be forced to charge more for some products, under a minimum price

Minimum pricing for alcohol is “poorly targeted” as it will have little impact on rich households where harmful drinking levels are the highest, according to a study from SABMiller.

In its latest lobbying effort against the proposed measure in the UK, the brewer released research yesterday (16 December) showing that a GBP0.45 floor price will cost the country's drinkers a total of GBP659m (US$1.06bn) more a year. The country's poorest 20% will pay an extra GBP318m each year, while the richest 20% will pay GBP7m, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) report says.

Scott Corfe, the report's author and Cebr's senior economist, said: “Those on the lowest incomes will be particularly hard-hit financially, bearing the brunt of the measure. This is despite the fact that health surveys show that those on higher incomes are more likely to drink to hazardous levels.” 

The report also suggests that under-30s households will be hit hardest by a minimum price levy.

Meanwhile, Carlsberg chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen has said that he is “surprised” that the UK government is pushing ahead with a plans for a minimum price, bearing in mind the legal fight happening in Scotland

“We’re a little surprised about the UK proposal because the proposal in Scotland has been taken to court in the EU as to whether it would be in line with the free market principles,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

“It could take between six and 18 months before there’s a decision, so we didn’t really expect England to come out with a proposal at this time.” 

The paper also reported that there is a split between UK cabinet ministers on a minimum price, with one unnamed source quoted as saying: “Minimum alcohol pricing looks dead in the water and the search has begun in Whitehall for an exit strategy which will allow the maximum amount of face saving.” 

When contacted by just-drinks, a Home Office spokesperson said: "The government is determined to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder ... We are now consulting the public about the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol."