Survey compares how cheaply alcohol is being sold in Britain

Posted on: 10th November 2020

As part of the Alcohol Health Alliance, the British Liver Trust is supporting the publication of a new alcohol pricing survey, Small change: alcohol at pocket money prices.

Published today (10 November 2020), the report compares how cheaply alcohol is being sold in shops and supermarkets in England, Wales and Scotland.

The results of the survey

As part of the research, members of staff from the Alcohol Health Alliance UK and its members visited shops and supermarkets in each nation to compare how cheaply alcohol is being sold.

The cheapest products were all found in England, the only nation in Great Britain not to have a minimum unit price for alcohol of 50p. The report also found that:

  • Cider is the cheapest available product in England and is being sold for as little as 19p per unit of alcohol, meaning that consumers can reach the weekly low-risk drinking guideline of 14 units of alcohol for just £2.68 – about the price of a large coffee in high street coffee chains.
  • One bottle of the cheapest cider contains more alcohol than eight pints of beer – and costs 8p less than a single pint in a pub.
  • For the price of a standard cinema ticket (£7.11), you could buy two bottles of wine, containing 19.5 units, and have 13p change leftover.
  • A 1-litre bottle of vodka, which contains 37.5 units, is cheaper than a large pizza at Dominos (£14.99).

Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy and Communications at the British Liver Trust, says: “Although there are many causes of liver disease, alcohol is the leading cause of deaths due to liver disease in the UK. This, together with many other negative health effects of drinking alcohol, places a huge burden on the NHS and our public health services.

“The relationship between alcohol price and the amount people drink is well established. Alcohol in the UK is 74% more affordable today than it was in 1987. The results of this survey highlight the need to end the sale of extremely cheap alcohol in England and the need for an alcohol duty system that covers the costs of alcohol's harm to the NHS and our other public services.”