Effects would be slightly less than first thought - study

Effects would be slightly less than first thought - study

The Scottish Government's case for a minimum price on alcoholic drinks has been weakened after key scientists in the debate said the policy would be less effective than first thought.

Minimum pricing would save slightly fewer lives and reduce consumption by slightly less than originally predicted, according to new figures published by the Scottish Government this week.

The figures are contained in a study by the University of Sheffield, which has updated its assessment of the impact of minimum pricing. Its original study is the foundation of the Scottish Government's strategy to impose a base price on drinks.

A minimum price of GBP0.40 (US$0.62) per alcohol unit, the base price quoted by the Government late last year, would cut alcohol consumption by 5.1% instead of an earlier predicted 5.4%.

Annual alcohol-related deaths would fall by 1,700, compared to 1,900 estimated previously.

Crime rates would also fall less steeply, according to the new report. It adds: "For crime, there is much uncertainty in the construction of a quantitative relationship between alcohol consumption and volumes of crime."

The new report weakens the Scottish Government's case for minimum pricing at a time when it is attempting to persuade opposition politicians to support the move.

However, the new Sheffield study still draws a direct link between a minimum price and lower consumption, crime and death rates.