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Alcohol and PHE evidence report

Cheap supermarket booze is 188% more affordable than 30 years ago


Cheap supermarket booze 188% more affordable than 30 years ago

New figures highlighting cheap supermarket beer is 188% more affordable than 30 years ago have been described as “extremely worrying” by Balance, fuelling ill health and putting pubs at risk.

The analysis from the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) also shows off-trade wine and spirits from shops are 131% more affordable than in 1987.

It comes as Scotland prepares to introduce a 50p Minimum Unit Price on May 1, while peers prepare to debate minimum unit pricing for England in a sitting of the House of Lords today (Wednesday 28 February).

In the North East, research by Balance shows 54% of adults in the region support MUP with less than 1 in 5 (19%) opposing. And a national survey of pub managers has also found that a large majority (83%) believe that supermarket alcohol is too cheap.

The IAS research is the first to compare affordability in the off-trade (supermarkets and off-licences) to the on-trade (pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants) using data up to 2016. Using an affordability index adjusting prices for inflation and income growth, the study shows a widening gulf between pubs and supermarkets.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “These figures are extremely worrying. As alcohol has got cheaper, individuals and communities are seeing more harm from alcohol.

“Cheap alcohol is contributing to a massive burden on our North East public services, with alcohol costing our NHS £209m a year for services like hospital admissions and A&E attendances, and police £331m in crime and disorder.

“It is also no wonder that many pub landlords see cheap supermarket alcohol is one of the biggest threats to the local community pub.”

He added: “Minimum Unit Pricing is being introduced in Scotland, while politicians in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have all committed to it. It is vital that the UK Government now follows suit, so that England does not get left behind.”

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