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Alcohol cost "no effect on intake"

New research has found that over half of adults would not cut their alcohol intake even if a minimum price was introduced.

A total of 52% said they would either dig deeper and spend more money on the same amount of alcohol or look for less expensive alternatives, according to a report by Ex-Deloitte director Tim Wilson.

Just one in five (21%) would purchase less alcohol if a minimum price was brought in. Meanwhile 26% said they would consume the same amount and spend more, 9% would look to spend less and 10% would change to cheaper brands.

The idea for a minimum price for alcohol was recommended earlier this year by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, who called for alcohol to be set at 50p per unit.

The government did not support the proposal, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying the government did not want the majority of sensible drinkers to be penalised. However, Scotland is debating the issue.

Mr Wilson, who publishes the quarterly Wilson Drinks Report - based on industry trends and consumer attitudes, said: "We are yet to be persuaded that minimum pricing would actually work as intended.

"Minimum pricing is obviously good news for the government, as higher retail prices will yield additional VAT."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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"I think the government should avoid another fiasco - do they never learn! If they continue to treat constituents like children then like children people will consume alcohol in an inappropriate way. I wonder if we will see illegal stills again? They should look at what happened in the USA with prohibition and learn" - Lynda Bruce, Scotland