Introducing a tax targeted at products with high alcohol content and cheap pricing would save lives in the UK, without impacting moderate and low-level alcohol consumers in the United Kingdom.
New research published in the medical journal PLOS Medicine shows that alcohol in the UK is now more affordable than it has been in decades, and new increased tax obligations should be implemented to decrease alcohol-related mortality.
Alcohol is approximately 54% more affordable compared to affordability in the 1980s. This relative increase of alcohol affordability is causing a significant burden on the national health system.
The results of the research indicated that in order to reduce the mortality rate from alcohol-related illnesses, the government should reform the alcohol taxation system to enact a minimum unit price, or levy taxes based on the alcohol content of drinks, instead of charging alcohol taxes based on the retail value of the drink.
It was found that implementing a minimum unit price of £0.50 would have the same effect as hiking the rate of the current alcohol tax by 13.4%. The minimum unit price system would have the most impact on the pricing of alcohol drinks which are high in alcohol but low in price.
The minimum unit price suggested by the results of the study would predominantly effect young alcohol users and individuals who consume high levels of alcohol, with little effect on middle income and moderate alcohol consumers.