Research released in the United Kingdom today shows there is an abundance of high strength alcohol sold for pocket money prices in shops and supermarkets across the UK.
The report entitled “Cheap alcohol: the price we pay” was compiled by the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), a group of medical royal colleges, alcohol organisations and health bodies. The report argues that recent cuts in alcohol taxes allow supermarkets to sell alcohol at rock bottom prices.
More than 7 liters alcohol for the price of cinema tickets
A review of alcohol prices in a range of retailers found products like high strength white ciders, which are predominantly consumed by dependent and under-age alcohol consumers, available for as little as 16p per unit.
This means that for the cost of a standard off-peak cinema ticket it is possible to buy almost seven and a half liters of high strength white cider, containing as much alcohol as 53 shots of vodka.
Each year there are almost 23,000 deaths and more than one million hospital admissions related to alcohol in England. Alcohol harm costs UK society more than £21billion.
The report cautions that, unless action is taken on the availability of cheap alcohol, harms associated with alcohol consumption will continue to rise, increasing the burden on the NHS and public services.
Chair of the AHA, leading liver doctor and former President of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said:
In spite of a government commitment to tackle cheap, high-strength alcohol, these products are still available at pocket money prices.
We need to make excessively cheap alcohol less affordable through the tax system, including an increase in cider duty. It’s not right that high strength white cider is taxed at a third of the rate for strong beer.”
Overview of key findings in the report
- Alcohol continues to be sold at pocket money prices, with white cider dominating the market for cheap, high strength alcoholic products.
- The cheapest product on shelves was Frosty Jacks high strength white cider (7.5% ABV) sold for 16p per unit of alcohol
- For the cost of a standard off-peak cinema ticket people in the UK can buy almost seven and a half liters of high strength white cider, containing as much alcohol as 53 shots of vodka
- Recent cuts in alcohol taxes allow shops and supermarkets to sell alcohol at pocket money prices
- High strength white cider is taxed at the lowest rate of all alcohol products. A can of 7.5% ABV white cider attracts less than one third of the duty on a can of beer the same strength.