MINIMUM alcohol pricing will hit Scottish consumers to the tune of around £122m a year, experts say.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimated work and health benefits worth in the region of £55m a year in Scotland.
But the cost of the minimum price of alcohol, combined with a ban on discount promotions, would take £177m annually out of consumers’ pockets.
Government plans to introduce minimum alcohol prices will damage the economy, it has been claimed © Deadline News
The CEBR conclude that the gains in health and career prospects will be outweighed by the damage to the economy.
They based their study on the minimum price of 45p per unit, which was recommended to the Scottish Government by a University of Sheffield report last month.
MSPs voted to support minimum alcohol pricing at the Scottish Parliament last week.
The CEBR report said: “Taking into account the potential impact of minimum pricing on all drinkers in Scotland, minimum pricing does not make sense.
“Consumers would suffer a net loss of £177 million. This loss would be incurred despite there being little impact on the excessive drinking habits of those who are supposed to be the target of the policy.
“CEBR’s own estimates suggest that the value of the benefits to wider society from the introduction of minimum alcohol pricing policies and discount bans are likely to be relatively small.
“In fact, they may fall well short of the scale of benefits required to justify the policy from an economic perspective.”
Those on lower incomes would be hit hardest © Deadline News
They say the poorest 50% of households currently pay less than 45p per unit of alcohol.
They say the two lowest income brackets would be ‘fundamentally affected’ by the minimum price plans.
A Wine and Spirit Trade Association spokesman said: “Minimum pricing is set to punish millions of hard-pressed Scottish consumers with higher prices and those on low incomes will bear the brunt.”
But the Scottish Government said the poorest communities would benefit “since they bear a disproportionate weight of the health harms and antisocial behaviour which are associated with alcohol.”
A spokesman added: “Alcohol consumption costs Scotland’s economy £3.6 billion each year. We need to stem the flow of cheap high-strength drink.”