Forgive me if I sound jaded when I discuss these people's crystal balls, but it was only six months ago that a 50p minimum price was predicted to save 2,000 lives a year across the entire population. The government-funded sock puppet website www.minimumpricing.info says that it will save exactly 1,000 lives, again across the entire population. Suddenly saving 5,000 lives only amongst pensioners seems to be upping the ante somewhat, no?
All this was press released days before the episode aired and various newspapers covered the 'story' with headlines such as Minimum price for alcohol 'will save 50,000 pensioners'. The figure comes from the Sheffield University team who produce all these minimum pricing estimates.
It is garbage. Not just the usual 'this sounds like a bad guess' garbage, but full-on 'no amount of squirming can get us out of this, we're going to have to retract it and re-edit the programme' garbage. The figure is more than four times larger than their dubious methodology can allow—a difference of some 38,500 lives—and thanks to the efforts of one of Dick Puddlecote's readers, the Sheffield University team have confessed to "human error". Take this with as much salt as you like, but they claim that someone accidentally put the wrong figures into the computer when Panorama commissioned the research. Truly a case of garbage in, garbage out.
Read the whole story at Spiked and also see Dick Puddlecote and the Pub Curmudgeon.