Should the Government Put a Minimum Price on Alcohol?

According to the Public Health Wales Observatory, alcohol is a major cause of death and illness in Wales and attributes to 1,500 deaths per year.

This year of March, Welsh government legislation allowing for a minimum price per unit of alcohol has come into effect.

It is the government’s belief that this will strike the right balance between the health and social benefits and intervention in the market.

But will this truly change people’s drinking habits? Watch as I take it out on the streets to find out what people have to say.

Niro Donato, 79, Businessman

“If you want something good you pay for it. The new generation is changing, it’s not like it was before. It’s all changing now. I think it is a good law to have. People should drink less.”

Praveen, 25, Filmmaker

“I think it could work to an extent. But you can get anything anywhere these days, so if someone decided to make their own alcohol. It does take a lot to go something like that. I think it is a good thing because alcohol consumption is rising everywhere else, drinking, smoking. You never know until you try it.”

Elin Gruffudd, 21, Staff at Shop Wales

I think the prices at Cardiff the price for alcohol is quite fair compare to London. I think London [alcohol] prices are quite expensive. I think it is reasonable because alcohol needs to be drunk in moderation so I suppose that would help people to not drink so much. People tend to abuse alcohol, so I think that would definitely help.

Thomas Pisarewilz, 30, worker at the merry-go-round in Cardiff

“No. I don’t think so. If someone has money, it doesn’t matter how much you pay for vodka, is it? I’m not a student, I work here and I make good money. So it doesn’t matter if I want to go buy one bottle of vodka or whiskey.”

Ursula Obrusnik, 32, Ph.D. student working part-time

“If you’re well off, it will not strike you. It might be more expensive but you’re still going to get your drink. If you struggle with alcoholism, you’ll still get your drink because it’s an addiction. I think what it will do is bring more money to the Welsh government, and what the Welsh government spends it is another question.”

Will Simpson, 67, Retired

“Probably. People have a limited amount of money, don’t they? A drink is only one thing to spend it on. Drink it a major problem. I think limiting it could be a good thing, particularly for young people who haven’t got that much money.”

Leo Paul, 34, Barber

“I think it might cause more crime because obviously the alcoholics want the drink. I think it would have two effects: crime would go up and someone who likes to have a drink ocassionally may buy less drink. But I think alcohol should be banned full stop.”

Cara Kohler, 29, Architect 

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea in all honesty. [Alcohol] is still a drug and it is quite socialized. And trying to minimise that impact by raising prices isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think it wouldn’t directly make that much of difference to [friends who drink]. But it might limit some of the bad impacts it has on students.”

Erina Kugasa, 17, Student 

“Yes. Alcohol is a kind of poison. It can damage people’s bodies. And because of alcohol, there are many accidents. I think [the law] will affect people’s drinking behaviour. Alcohol changes people’s behaviour. It’s a bit dangerous.”

Siyu Duan, 27, Ph.D. student 

“No. It’s their will. Whether they want to buy or sell alcohol. The government should not intervene at all. Education is a way to limit alcohol consumption. Raising the price of alcohol would mean the government is controlling too much of people’s lives. And it’s not good for the business as well.”