Minimum pricing proposal could further hurt our pubs
Pubs in the South West will be among the worst affected by minimum pricing for alcohol, according to a new poll.
Figures released by YouGov suggest that, contrary to the Government’s claims of a boost to the industry, a 45p minimum price per unit of alcohol will turn people away from pubs. The change is proposed to cut binge-drinking and drink-related crime and end heavily discounted sales for home drinking.
On behalf of brewer SABMiller, YouGov polled 1,261 people who had had an alcoholic drink in the last week to find out whether a minimum price would make them more or less likely to go to the pub. Results show that at a minimum price of 45p:
Fewer than one per cent (0.36 per cent) say they will drink less at home and more in the pub
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46 per cent of people surveyed in the South West say they will drink less in the pub
Just over a third of people (36 per cent ) in the South West say they will continue to drink the same at home and in the pub, compared to the national average of 45 per cent.
Publican Gareth Cantwell, of the Pickled Pilot in Melksham, said: “This is the wrong approach. We are going into a triple dip recession and the effect of the minimum price would be 10p extra a pint. If I charge my customers an extra 10p I may lose some.
“The Government needs to stop beer being sold cheaper than water in supermarkets, and bring drinkers back to the pubs.”
The survey also found that people who are constantly struggling to keep up with their outgoings are the most likely to drink less in the pub (56 per cent). The report also shows that some people will cut back on other things in order to cover the increased cost of what they drink at home. Thirteen per cent of those struggling or falling behind with payments said they would cut back on food, compared to eight per cent of the general population.
Commenting, Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s Chairman, said: “Pubs in the South West will be among the worst affected by this policy, as it appears that local people are less willing to go to the pub if the cost of drinking at home goes up. This puts paid to the Government’s claim that minimum pricing will help the UK pub industry.”
SABMiller’s Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs, Mike Short said: “This shows that people don’t behave in the way computer models predict. If the Government really wants to cut anti-social binge drinking it needs to tackle that culture with better education for parents and in schools, targeted schemes and proper enforcement of existing licensing laws.”