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75% of alcohol in Wales is drunk by just over a fifth of the population according to new report

75% of all alcohol consumed in Wales is drunk by the 22% of the adult population who are hazardous or harmful drinkers, according to a new report.

Within this – the 3% of the population who are harmful drinkers, account for 27% of all alcohol consumed.

50% of the alcohol bought in Wales is for less than 55p per unit. Credit: PA

In October 2017, the Welsh Government unveiled a new Bill that will, if passed, introduce a minimum price for the sale of alcohol. The Bill is designed to reduce hazardous and harmful drinking in Wales.

Harmful drinkers spend an average £2,882 on alcohol per year. Credit: PA

The report published by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group found that the greatest impact of a minimum unit price would be on the most deprived harmful drinkers – those groups at greatest risk of experiencing harm due to their drinking.

75%
75% of the alcohol drunk in Wales is by the 22% who are harmful drinkers.
50%
50% of the alcohol bought in Wales is for less than 55p per unit.
£2,882
Harmful drinkers spend an average £2,882 on alcohol per year, compared to £276 for moderate drinkers

The report reveals the population of Wales buys 50% of its alcohol for less than 55p per unit, 37% for less than 50p per unit and 27% for less than 45p per unit.

The research commissioned by the Welsh Government shows

  • Moderate drinkers drink an average of 211 units of alcohol per year compared to 1,236 for hazardous drinkers and 3,924 for harmful drinkers.
  • Harmful drinkers spend an average £2,882 a year on alcohol compared to £1,209 for hazardous drinkers and £276 for moderate drinkers.
  • Alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital admissions are concentrated in hazardous and particularly harmful drinkers who are more deprived.

The introduction of a minimum unit price would be effective in reducing alcohol consumption among these groups, as well as reducing the number of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalisations.

The report shows the greatest impact of a minimum unit price would be on the most deprived harmful drinkers, while moderate drinkers would experience only small impacts on their alcohol consumption and spending. This is because moderate drinkers tend to buy alcohol which would be subject to little or no increase in price under the policy.

If passed, this law will potentially save lives.

– Vaughan Gething, Health Secretary