Minimum alcohol pricing will hurt the poor

In response to Cameron’s announcement today on plans for a minimum price of 40p per unit of alcohol, Sam Bowman, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute argues that it is a terrible policy idea:

“Minimum alcohol pricing is intensely regressive. It only hurts poor and frugal drinkers, leaving drinkers of expensive wines and other drinks untouched. Minimum alcohol pricing is anti-fun Victorian paternalism, and the government is engaged in a misguided moral crusade against drinking. 

“In fact, there is no significant drinking problem in Britain. We drink less than we did ten years ago and less than we did one hundred years ago. Britons drink less per person than the French, Germans, Spanish, Belgians and Czechs.

“Minimum alcohol pricing is the beginning of a slippery slope: the minimum pricing rate will creep upwards  and affect currently-untouched drinks. All drinkers should oppose this, because by the time the minimum price rises to affect them directly, it will be too late.”