Alcohol pricing policy
A multidisciplinary research team from the University of Sheffield played a key role in shaping the current debate over alcohol pricing policy. Researchers in the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), Department of Economics and Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering collaborated tomodel the impact of potential alcohol policies on individuals and society.
The initial study, an Independent Review of the Effects of Alcohol Pricing and Promotion commissioned by the UK Department of Health in 2008, showed policy options such as minimum unit pricing or banning price-based promotions reduce alcohol consumption and can have significant effects on reducing alcohol-related harm. These findings have been used by senior decision-making bodies such as the House of Commons Health Select Committee, the UK Chief Medical Officer and the WHO alcohol strategy group.
The research produced the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model, which draws on data from large-scale surveys to form a key evidence base. The model has since been adapted for use by the Scottish Government, and work is underway to provide further international adaptations. In 2009, it was extended to cover other significant areas, such as alcohol screening and brief interventions in primary care, to helpthe development ofNICE guidance. In early 2010, the University of Sheffield team was commissioned by the Home Office to draft one of three independent research reviews on alcohol pricing.
The model and its findings have made a strong contribution to the public debate on alcohol pricing, with members of the research team making regular appearances in the national broadcast media.
Sheffield’s contribution to this key policy area is set to continue, with ScHARR being chosen to host and lead the Capacity Development for Alcohol Policy Effectiveness Research (CAPER) research cluster, a team of international experts from diverse fields such as sociology, economics, psychology, criminology and policy modelling funded by the MRC to inform strategic decisions about UK alcohol policies and their local, national and international implementation.