Assessing the Experiences and Impact of Minimum Pricing for Alcohol on Service Users and Service Providers: Interim Findings

Perkins, Andy, Livingston, Wulf, Cairns, Beth, Dumbrell, Josh, Holloway, Katy, Buhociu, Marian, Murray, Shannon and Madoc-Jones, Iolo (2023) Assessing the Experiences and Impact of Minimum Pricing for Alcohol on Service Users and Service Providers: Interim Findings. [Report]

WURO_Perkins et al 2023 Lot 3 full.pdf

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1. Introduction 1.1 In May 2018, Welsh Government issued a specification for an evaluation that would assess the process and impact of the introduction of a Minimum Price for Alcohol [MPA] in Wales. The contract was split into four ‘lots’: (1) a contribution analysis, (2) work with retailers, (3) qualitative work with services and service users, and (4) an assessment of impact on the wider population of drinkers. 1.2 Three of the contracts (Lots 1, 3 and 4) were awarded to a consortium of researchers based at Glyndŵr University (Wrexham), Figure 8 Consultancy Services Ltd (Dundee), and University of South Wales1. Lot 2 was awarded to the National Centre for Social Research2. 1.3 The explicit aim of this component of the research is to assess both the experience and impact of MPA on service users (harmful, hazardous, and dependent drinkers) and services across Wales (including exploring the extent to which switching between substances may have been a consequence of the legislation and the impacts of minimum pricing on household budgets). 1.4 The original plan was to assess the impact of MPA at 18 months and 42 months post-implementation. As a result of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 18-month follow-up was postponed for six months. This report therefore presents findings from data collected 24 months post-implementation of the legislation. The second follow-up study will still be conducted at 42 months post-implementation, at which point a final evaluation report will be completed and submitted to Welsh Government. 1.5 At this early stage of the evaluation process it is not possible to detail with certainty the full impact of the policy on service users and services without conflating the impact of MPA with the impact of COVID-19 and the current cost of living crisis. We are, however, able to frame early evidence around the ‘early effects’ of the policy, rather than purporting any actual impact(s) of the policy. 1.6 Therefore, this report, which is based on research conducted two years post-implementation of the legislation, provides an important interim assessment of the experience and early effects of MPA on those drinkers who are: (1) directly targeted 1 Lot 1 is led by Glyndŵr University, Lot 3 is led by Figure 8 Consultancy Services Ltd, and Lot 4 is led by University of South Wales. 2 National Centre for Social Research 5 by the legislation (i.e. harmful and hazardous drinkers); and (2) the most vulnerable population group that are directly impacted, but not directly targeted, by the legislation (i.e. low income dependent drinkers). 1.7 The research gathered the views and opinions of both service users and service providers using a combination of qualitative interviews and online survey questionnaires (see sections 1.11-1.13 ‘Language’ and Chapter 3 for further detail on the use of these labels/descriptors). 1.8 In relation to service users, the key objectives of the study were to explore: • how they prepared for the change in the legislation; • their perceptions of the legislation; • what changes they made, if any, to their use of alcohol after the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol; • what changes, if any, they made to their use of alternative substances after the change in legislation; • their perceptions of changes (including substance switching) that other people made after the introduction of the legislation; and • the impact of the new legislation on their household expenditure and other aspects of their lives (e.g. relationships, employment, health). 1.9 In relation to service providers, the key objectives of the study were to explore: • the approaches they used to help people prepare for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol; • their perceptions of changes in substance use (including substance switching) that service users made after the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol; • the impact of the new legislation on the lives of service users (e.g. household expenditure, health, relationships, employment, etc); and • how useful the support materials or guidance that were provided were, as well as any additional materials that may be required. Structure of the report 1.10 The report is divided into three key parts: • The first (Chapters 2-4) provides contextual information, an overview of the research methods, as well as the characteristics of the interview and survey samples. 6 • The second (Chapters 5-6) presents the results of the study and is structured into two core chapters which present the analysed views of the two key stakeholder groups (service users and service providers). • The third (Chapters 7-8) summarises the results, provides a comparative discussion of the views of service users and service providers, and includes a set of ‘next steps’ for consideration by the Welsh Government. Language (labels and descriptors) 1.11 For clarity, the research team have chosen to adopt two labels/descriptors: ‘service users’ (drinkers) and ‘service providers’. Detailed characteristics of these groups, for both survey and interview samples, are provided in Chapter 4. 1.12 Within the report, additional and nuanced terms are used to reflect the specifics of delineated sub-populations within these overall groups. 1.13 In relation to the term ‘service users’, the report acknowledges that survey and interviewing sampling focused on those individuals whose level of drinking is categorised3 as either hazardous, harmful, or dependent4.

Item Type: Report
Keywords: Minimum Unit Price, Alcohol, Price, Harmful Drinking, Service Providers
Divisions: Social and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Hayley Dennis
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2023 11:27
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2023 11:27

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