We have a "free at the point of delivery" National Health Service and for good reason - a healthy population is a productive population, and that reaps benefits for all. That does not however extend to an area of our health that influences our ability to eat and drink and that when not maintained adequately can lead to cancer. Care of the mouth and teeth should be brought fully under the National Health Service and free at the point of delivery, sweeping away the often prohibitive costs for the poorest in society and ensuring that our world class health care system continues to beat it's international counterparts in keeping the nation in good health.
Alcohol misuse is a serious health issue costing around £21bn per year, including related crime. Much of this is down to the sale of cheap alcohol products that allow for over-consumption. A Minimum Unit Price (MUP) of 45p will curb dangerous consumption habits whilst having a negligible, if any, impact on responsible drinkers. An estimated economic net benefit in excess of £300m is achievable.
Resulting price increases would largely be restricted to off-trade retailers such as supermarkets and off-licenses and so would not have a large negative impact on the licensed pub trade.
Examples; * A 3 litre bottle of 4.7% ABV cider can be purchased for as little as £3.99 and contains 14.1 units of alcohol. An MUP of 45p would force this up to at least £8.81 (£6.35 MUP + £1.27 VAT + £1.19 duty). * A pint of 4% draught beer can be purchased for around £3.21 and contains 2.3 units of alcohol. An MUP of 45p would make the minimum legal price £1.65 (£1.35 MUP + £0.21 VAT + £0.09 duty), well below the current price.