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					Winter 2010 Volume 24 Number 4

                                 The Alcohol Concern Quarterly Magazine

In this issue . . .
u Why we have nothing to fear
  from a minimum price for
u Acquire pull-out - Future
  Proof? Can we afford the
  cost of drinking too much?
u Celebrating the successes of
  Alcohol Awareness Week 2009
Straight Talk
Referrals in Wales on the rise                                                                        Code shelved
                                     referrals in the database
                                 = 58 per cent (16,173) of
                                                                     underestimate the number of
                                                                     people in Wales in need of
                                                                                                      until 2012?
                                     referrals related to            treatment.”                      Lord Mandelson, the
                                     alcohol misuse, and 38              The Welsh Database for       Business Secretary, has
                                     per cent (10,437) related       Substance Misuse only            hinted that plans for a
                                     to misuse of drugs              relates to people presenting     mandatory code on the sale
                                 = 56 per cent of clients            to treatment services for        of alcohol may be shelved.
                                     referred for any                substance misuse and these       Details of the government’s
                                     substance were                  may constitute only a            plans were reported in The
                                     assessed within 10              proportion of all substance      Times. The newspaper
                                     working days of referral,       misusers. The report also        managed to obtain a letter
                                     and 89 per cent of clients      includes additional              from the Business Secretary,
The number of referrals for          were given treatment            information from other           where Lord Mandelson
alcohol treatment in Wales           within 10 working days of       routine data sources             singles out the “mandatory
has risen by 872 people,             assessment.                     including hospital, mortality,   code on alcohol” as a
from 15,301 in 2007/8 to            Andrew Misell, Alcohol           education and crime data.        candidate for delay until April
16,173 in 2008/9, according      Concern Cymru’s Policy                  Data in this Report will     2012. To read The Times
to the latest figures from the   Manager said: “These new            differ from Reports              story in full visit:
Welsh Assembly.                  figures seem to add to the          published previously on the
    Key facts from the Welsh     evidence that as alcohol            Welsh Assembly Government        /tol/news/politics/article6837
Database for Substance           consumption increases, so           website because of revised /     648.ece?dm_i=4OQ,23GC,A
Misuse, 2008/9 include:          the need for treatment              updated data.                    3K3Q,6QGT,1
= there were 27,622              services will grow. With                Further information can
    referrals for treatment of   many people not                     be found at:
    alcohol or drug misuse       recognising they have a   
    notified to the database.
    9,318 of these were for
                                 drink problem, or not
                                 accessing services, these
                                 figures may well
                                                                     olders.aspx?IF_ActivePath=       UK air-rage
    clients with no prior                                            P,280,3181
                                                                                                      takes off
Over 5000 litres of alcohol taken from teens
More than 3,500 young                to about 6,600 bottles of       = 2,467 test purchase
people were targeted by the          lager)                              operations were carried
summer crackdown on              =    3,721 actions were taken           out - 349 licensed
teenage binge drinking this          against young people                premises failed a test
year and 15,000 were                 attempting to consume               purchase operation.
signposted to positive               or consuming alcohol in            In addition, across the
activities according to the          public places – including       69 areas the police carried      New figures from the
Department for Families and          500 dispersal orders            out over 500 Operation           Department for Transport
Schools.                         =    nearly 2,000 young             Staysafe initiatives. Around     indicate that in 2008/09,
   New figures show how an           people were referred to         2,000 young people, who          there was a total of 3,529
extra £1.4 million of new            support services -              were drunk and causing           reports of disruptive
cash helped the police,              including 324 to alcohol        trouble in public places,        behaviour on UK airlines –
children’s and health                treatment services              were referred to support         and of these, alcohol was
services work together to        =    1,829 parents were             services. Compared to the        involved in 37 per cent of
tackle alcohol-related, low          informed about their            three months before the          incidents. For more
level, youth crime and anti-         child’s alcohol-related anti-   summer campaign this is          information visit:
social behaviour in 69               social behaviour and            more than double the   
priority areas across the            involved in follow-up action    number of Operation              tistics/datatablespublications
country this summer.                 to address their behaviour      Staysafes, over four times       /aviation/db/disruptivebehavi
   The figures show that         =    over 38,000 young              more referrals to support        our200809.pdf
between July and                     people were identified by       services and three times as
September:                           street-based teams with         many young people
= 5,171 litres of alcohol            18,660 signposted to            referred to alcohol and
    were confiscated from            positive activities in their    substance misuse services.
    teenagers (this equates          areas

    4            Straight Talk – Winter 2010 Volume 24 Number 4
Alcohol Concern
New alcohol star Changing Policy –
Alcohol Concern has
launched the Alcohol Star– a
                                  alcohol misuse sector will
                                  build a national outcomes
                                                                     Innovating Practice
new version of the                evidence base, embed a             Alcohol Concern has
Outcomes Star for alcohol         common language,                   published its latest Annual
misuse services.                  demonstrate the benefits of        Review 2008/9 and also our
    The Alcohol Star enables      services and deepen                Financial Accounts 2008/9:
workers and clients to            learning about what works.         Changing Policy – Innovating
measure progress with             The more organisations that        Practice.
‘softer’ outcomes, both           adopt it, the greater the             The Review highlights the
holistic and subtle change. It    benefits will be.                  key work of Alcohol Concern
is an effective and popular          Alcohol Concern Chief           over the last financial year.
motivational tool that can be     Executive Don Shenker said:        This includes the work of
used as an integral part of       “Alcohol Concern has               our ground-breaking
support planning and review.      pioneered new approaches           projects in helping to shape
    The Alcohol Star brings       to measuring and learning          the future of alcohol            some of the country’s
up-to-date the Alcohol            from client outcomes in the        services, our reports which      leaders, including a summit
Outcomes Spider, benefiting       1990s - work which won             highlight the cost of alcohol-   with Gordon Brown at No10.
from the work of Triangle         Alcohol Concern the first          related harm and how this           This year Alcohol
Consulting developing the         Charity Award in 2000.             can be reduced; and our          Concern also celebrates its
family of Outcomes Stars in          “We now want to test this       resources, including our         25th birthday, and the
the homelessness and              new version within the             website, which receives          Review celebrates this with
mental sectors, among             alcohol sector in the hope         20,000 visitors a month.         highlights of our work over
others. It is more user-          that providers and                    Alcohol Concern also has      the last quarter century.
friendly, better presented and    commissioners can better           a very successful Training          To view Changing Policy –
is supported by more              measure client outcomes.”          and Consultancy team which       Innovating Practice, the
comprehensive guidance. It           The Alcohol Star can be         provides services to local       Annual Review and Financial
will also be available as an      downloaded free from:              authorities and primary care     Accounts 2008/9 visit:
online version in 2010.           trusts across the country. We    http://www.alcoholconcern.
    Widespread use of the         or         have also lobbied      
Alcohol Star across the                                              government and met with          us.jsp

Supermarkets keep shoppers in the dark
Message on a Bottle a report      industry made further              their willingness to give
published by Alcohol              promises to improve alcohol        consumers the facts about
Concern has found that the        labelling but this research        what they are drinking. Profit
majority of alcohol sold by       shows that many producers          is clearly being put above
supermarkets is poorly            are falling short of their         public health and it is time
labelled, leaving customers       corporate social                   for government to act.”
in the dark when it comes to      responsibility pledges. In the         Alcohol Concern looked
vital health information. The     light of this poor progress        at 10 promoted products in
report found that only 4 per      Alcohol Concern is calling         branches of five
cent of products reviewed         on government to take              supermarkets, Sainsbury’s,
carried all five elements that    decisive action to introduce       Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and
make up the industry best         mandatory health labelling         Waitrose. It tested the
practice label. Only 18 per       on alcohol products and for        packaging and labels of
cent of products carried          supermarkets to promote            these products against five
information about sensible        only products that are clearly     criteria set out by the
drinking levels and 56 per        labelled.                          Department of Health as the
cent carried unit information.       Don Shenker, Chief              ideal components of an           and the ‘Know Your Limits’
    In 1998 a voluntary           Executive of Alcohol               alcohol label: unit              slogan.
agreement was reached             Concern said: “There is a          information, sensible               Message on a Bottle can
between the drinks industry       huge disparity between the         drinking guidelines,             be downloaded from the
and the government to             drinks industry’s enthusiasm       information about drinking       Alcohol Concern website at:
introduce unit labelling on all   to promote and advertise           whilst pregnant, the             http://www.alcoholconcern.
products. In 2008 the drinks      alcohol to the public and          Drinkaware website address

                                                                   Straight Talk – Winter 2010 Volume 24 Number 4           9
Balancing the basket
C       hris Record explains why we have nothing to fear from a
        minimum price for alcohol

Summary                                         Alcohol price                                    drinks obtained from the Office of
                                                                                                 National Statistics Expenditure and Food
Discounting of alcohol products is              Affordability of alcohol is the relationship
                                                                                                 Survey (EFS) in 2006 was £46.90 and on
universal in UK supermarkets. Eighty            between household income and alcohol
                                                                                                 alcohol £6.50. Using data from the EFS
percent of alcohol purchases are made           price and in 2004 the Cabinet Office
                                                                                                 and from Nielson, the actual cost of
by 30 per cent of the population and this       Harm Reduction Strategy showed a
                                                                                                 alcohol units in four alcohol categories
group are the main beneficiaries. At            parallel relationship with consumption.
                                                                                                 has been calculated. For beer and spirit
present the public expect alcohol to be on      Overall between 1980 and 2007 alcohol
                                                                                                 the Neilsen corrected mean unit price
promotion and are under the                     became 69 per cent more affordable
                                                                                                 paid is 35p per unit, for wine 45p and for
misconception that they are benefiting.         while in the off trade, since 1987, beer
                                                                                                 RTD’s (alcopops) is 73p.
However families in Britain have nothing to     and wine have become 139 per cent
fear from the introduction of a 50p per unit    and 124 per cent more affordable
minimum price of alcohol as the overall         respectively. An increase in taxation            The effect on off-trade
effect should be a reduction in average         could decrease alcohol affordability and         alcohol purchasing
weekly supermarket bills for the majority       thus consumption but the price
                                                                                                 A minimum price of alcohol of 50p per
while harmful and hazardous drinkers will       increases may not be passed on to
                                                                                                 unit was chosen as it is above the mean
pay more. By paying less for non-alcohol        purchasers. Some supermarkets sell
                                                                                                 price paid for the high volume sales of
products sold by supermarkets, moderate         alcohol during promotions for as little as
                                                                                                 beer, wine and spirits so that all would be
drinkers should no longer be effectively        11p per unit (10ml 100 per cent alcohol)
                                                                                                 affected by the change in policy. The
subsidising the alcohol purchased by the        and own brand spirits are often sold for
                                                                                                 model relies on the General Household
harmful and hazardous group.                    little more than the excise duty and VAT
                                                                                                 Survey 2006 data that 80 per cent of
                                                payable. Such discounting can only be
                                                                                                 alcohol is consumed by 30 per cent of
                                                financed by raising prices and thus
Introduction                                    profitability of the food and non-alcoholic
                                                                                                 the population and that the bottom 30 per
In Britain, alcohol consumption rose 121                                                         cent consume only 2 per cent of alcohol.
                                                drinks sold. Changes in alcohol taxation
per cent between 1950 and 2000, and                                                                  The expenditure and food survey 2006
                                                cannot curtail alcohol discounting by
from 9.5 to 11.5 litres of pure alcohol per                                                      gives the average alcohol expenditure for
                                                supermarkets and the effect of the
adult between 1987 and 2007 so that the                                                          spirits, wines and beers (Table 1). Using
                                                introduction of a statutory minimum
average consumption for every person                                                             these figures and the Neilson corrected
                                                price per unit of alcohol sold on family
over age 15 is now 22 units per week.                                                            price per unit of alcohol it can be
                                                budgets has therefore been modelled.
Since the Department of Health safe limits                                                       calculated that the average household of
for consumption are 2-3 and 3-4 units/day                                                        1.8 adults in England is purchasing 16.1
for men and women respectively (with 2          Home food and drinks                             units of alcohol per week. In calculating
alcohol free days) it is not surprising that    expenditure                                      the figures it is assumed that the same
surveys have shown that about 25 per                                                             amount of money will be spent per
                                                The average trolley price bought through
cent of the population are drinking at                                                           household before and after the change in
                                       together with the
hazardous or harmful levels. Alcohol                                                             price. Different alcohol products vary in
                                                cost in the trolley of the alcohol
harms to health are escalating and in                                                            the way the volume purchased changes
                                                containing drinks was £80.92 - £5.84
2008 the North West Public Health                                                                in response to alterations in price. This is
                                                (7.2 per cent) of which was spent on
Observatory showed that hospital                                                                 known as price elasticity. In calculating
                                                alcohol. Average weekly family
admissions for alcohol-related conditions                                                        changes in purchasing the most recent
                                                expenditure on food and non-alcoholic
were increasing by 80,000 per year.                                                              estimates by the Government Economic

                 Expenditure           Mean price/    Units             Mean price/       Price           Price               Units
                 p e r we e k          unit           purchased/        unit              increase        elasticity          purchased/
                                                      we e k                                                                  week
 Spirits         £1.30                 35p            3.7               5 0p              1 5p            -1.31               2 .4
 Wines           £3.30                 45p            7.3               5 0p              5p              -0.75               6 .8
 Beers           £1.80                 35p            5.1               5 0p              1 5p            -1.03               3 .5
 Total           £6.40                                16.1                                                                    12.7

 Table 1: Effect of minimum price of 50p per unit on alcohol purchasing

      18          Straight Talk – Winter 2010 Volume 24 Number 4
                                                                                                            Alcohol policy

Service of price elasticity for different
types of alcoholic drinks in the UK have
                                                     and that the increased profitability of        The effect of changing
                                                     alcohol will be exactly offset by a
been applied.                                        decrease in profitability on non-alcohol       alcohol strength
   From Table 1 it can be seen that                  products. The figures show the effect on       Minimum pricing of alcohol is based upon
alcohol purchasing would need to fall                family expenditure assuming no change          the price of a unit of alcohol not on the
by 3.4 units per week for alcohol                    in purchased volume. The                       volume of a particular type of drink. In
spending to be maintained constant.         and EFS figures            recent years the alcohol by volume (abv) of
However if purchasing were to remain                 above show that 7.2 per cent and 12 per        alcohol products has been increasing, in
constant at 16.1 units per week the                  cent respectively of food and drink            the beer and lager market manufacturers
cost would be £8.05 per week, which                  purchases are alcohol. For these               have been concentrating on the higher
represents an increase in household                  calculations a figure of 10 per cent has       (premium strength) products. Very few
expenditure on alcohol of 24 per cent.               been used so that the 24 per cent              table wines are now less than 12 per cent
When this is applied to the three                    increase in alcohol prices can be offset       abv (9 units per bottle and many reach
sectors of the population the major                  by a 2.8 per cent fall in prices of the 90     14.5 per cent abv (10.9 units per bottle).
effect on household expenditure is in                per cent of purchases in the non-alcohol       Producers could offset the effects of a
the top purchasing sector which would                sector.                                        minimum price by reducing the alcohol
need to spend an extra £4.16 per week                    The figures show that 70 per cent of       content of their products. For example:
to maintain purchasing levels.                       the population would be better off while       Lager currently sold at 35p per unit and 5%
                                                     the sector purchasing most alcohol             abv costs £0.77 per 440ml can. If the
The effect on food and                               would be selectively affected. The figures     minimum price is 50p per unit the price
                                                     show the scenario in which 100 per cent        would rise to £1.10 but if the alcohol
non-alcoholic drinks                                 of alcohol is purchased in supermarkets        content were reduced to 4 per cent abv the
expenditure and household                            where increased prices of alcohol can be       price would be £0.88
                                                     offset by lower prices for food and non            Thus the introduction of minimum unit
budget                                               alcoholic drinks. In practice only two         pricing should for the first time
In calculating these figures (Table 2) it is         thirds of alcohol purchases come from          encourage manufacturers to decrease
assumed that the overall margins made                such stores although alcohol specialist        the abv of their products.
by supermarkets will be unchanged so                 stores could also respond by
that if alcohol prices rise, the price of            substantially discounting the non-             Chris Record is a Liver Specialist at the
non-alcohol products sold will decrease              alcoholic drinks they sell.                    Royal Victoria Infirmary and University of

                                               Population (30%)       Population (40%)            Population (30%)           Mean for
                                               purchasing 2% of       purchasing 28% of           purchasing 80% of          whole
                                               total alcohol          total alcohol market        total alcohol market       population
 Mean food and all drink                       £53.40                 £53.40                      £53.40                     £53.40
 expenditure for whole
 Weekly food and non alcoholic                 £52.97                 £48.85                      £36.07                     £46.90
 drink expenditure in 2006
 Weekly food and non alcoholic                 £51.49                 £47.48                      £35.06                     £45.59
 drink expenditure with 2.8%
 Net weekly effect on non                      £- 1.48                £- 1.37                     £- 1.01                    - £1.31
 alcohol family budget
 Net weekly effect after                       £- 1.38                £- 0.28                     £+3.15                     +£0.24
 additional alcohol expenditure

Table 2: Effect of 50p per unit minimum price for alcohol on food and non alcoholic drink expenditure and overall
household budget

                                                                          Straight Talk – Winter 2010 Volume 24 Number 4                19

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