Is setting a minimum price on alcohol a good idea?

Most people already seem to think that alcohol is pretty expensive…but is this really such a bad thing? There is an increasing number of young people binge drinking in the United Kingdom, and it shows no signs of slowing down…but could raising the prices of alcohol be the answer? It may not solve everything, but studies show that it most certainly would help.

In fact, the government HAS proposed to set a minimum price for alcohol: 45p per unit. Research has shown that even this could lead to up to 2,000 fewer deaths per year!

In some stores, cans of lager have been previously sold for as little as 20p per can, and 2-for-1 deals on 2L bottles of cider and wine are not uncommon. As such deals often attract teenagers with little money, raising the prices is very likely to have a large impact, decreasing the amount of alcohol they are able to buy with their limited budget, thus reducing binge-drinking and therefore lowering the death toll.

But the big question is: how high do we raise the prices? Research has shown that raising alcohol by as much as 40p per unit could potentially decrease the alcohol death rate by as much as 10%, and increasing the price by as much as 70p per unit could decrease the alcohol death rate by up to 60%…so how much do we increase the price before it goes too far?

Similarly, how can we be sure that increasing the price of alcohol will have any effect at all? Surely people will still find a way to get their hands on alcohol, even if it means it is acquired illegally. There is no doubt that crime levels would soar as more people turned to shoplifting as a way to get the alcohol they couldn’t afford.

So…what do YOU think?