SAB Millar have commissioned an opinion poll to find out whether drinkers think that price will change their behaviour and in what way. While the survey was of adults I thought there were one or two useful normative messages we might take from what young adults told the pollsters.
But to start I think it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t have phrased the questions in the way that YouGov have and I suspect that many proponents of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) would find the description of the likely change to the cost of alcohol partial at least.
For example in describing the impact of MUP they told the public:
A minimum price of 45p per unit has been suggested, which according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association would see 52% of prices in supermarkets and off-licences rise overnight.
But turning to the findings.
Perhaps contrary to popular opinion the survey shows that it is the youngest age group who the most likely to say that they’ve never drunk alcohol, with nearly one in ten (9%) of 18 to 24 year olds saying that is the case for them.
And young adults are the less likely to say they’ve drunk in the last week (53%) than the average Briton (59%).
There’s also quite from the poll that will hearten those of us who think that MUP may reduce the amount that younger drinkers choose to consume, with 20% of the age group who’d drunk alcohol in the last week saying they’re likely to reduce their consumption at home.
One of the concerns that has been raised about introducing MUP is that it will lead to an unintended change in behaviour where people cut back in other areas of spending in order to continue their consumption of alcohol.
As you can see from the graph to the right a large majority of the 18-24 year old group said they weren’t going to change what they spend or were unlikely to cut back elsewhere.