The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) has today published an analysis of submissions to the Home Office consultation on minimum pricing that indicates public support for the policy was greater than previously thought.

In its own analysis, the Home Office stated that the majority of respondents opposed the proposal to introduce a 45p minimum price per unit of alcohol (MUP). However, this conclusion failed to distinguish between those responses that were against the principle of introducing MUP at any level and those that wanted a MUP higher than the one proposed by the government (45p).

Results of IAS analysis found:

•    Many respondents who were noted by the Home Office as against a 45p per unit minimum price were actually in favour of a higher minimum price of at least 50p per unit
•    When accounting for this discrepancy, the proportion of respondents for and against the measure was split fairly evenly (45%:46% respectively), contrary to the Home Office figures (34%:56%)
•    Thousands of responses from members of the public collected by Balance North East, expressing support for a 50p minimum unit price, were omitted from the published responses and Home Office calculations, whilst other submissions from individuals appear to have been accepted.
•    A lack of clarity about the purpose of the consultation; whether it was designed to seek views on the level or the principle of MUP and it is unclear what role the consultation responses played in the decision-making process to delay the introduction of MUP.

Katherine Brown, Director of Policy at IAS said:

“This analysis has allowed us to capture the responses that supported a minimum price of greater than 45p, so it provides a better reflection of the numbers for and against minimum pricing.

“Given that the consultation was designed to seek views on the level and not the principle of minimum pricing, and indeed that respondents were invited to suggest alternative levels, it is odd that the Home Office results were not presented in a way that would take this into consideration.

“We hope that our report will provide a helpful contribution to the decision making process to introduce minimum pricing. The evidence to support this policy continues to get stronger, and this report shows there is greater public support than previously thought.”

To see the full report click here.