Higher taxes for strong beers and reduced taxes for low-strength beers, plus plans to ban below-cost sales would only have marginal effects on the alcohol market, according to new research. The report Small Beer? Assessing the Government's alcohol policies by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, suggests that these two reforms would only have “marginal effects”, while minimum pricing across Britain would directly affect 71% of alcohol units in the off-trade, and nearly 90% of households which buy off-licence alcohol. The report said: “Annual real-terms increases in alcohol duties to 2014-15 are planned, but more fundamental change to the structure of alcohol taxes should be pursued as well. At the moment, different types and strengths of alcohol are taxed at very different effective rates per unit, without a clear rationale. “Whilst the tax system could not easily replicate a minimum price directly, a sensible starting point would be to tax all alcohol equally on the basis of alcohol content, perhaps in conjunction with a below-cost ban. “Such a reform would require a change in EU directives which restrict the basis on which alcohol is taxed, and the government should seek to make this happen.” A ban on below-cost sales of alcohol is set to be introduced for England and Wales, though the timetable is not yet clear, while the SNP have committed to introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol in Scotland, following an unsuccessful attempt to do so in 2010.