Scotland’s minimum alcohol price set to rise to 65 pence, campaigners say

A campaign group working to reduce the harm of alcohol in Scotland has called for the minimum price to be raised to 65 pence per unit.

Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) said a move to increase the price Scots pay for alcohol would help save more lives across the country.

This plea precedes the third anniversary of the introduction of the minimum unit price on May 1, 2018.

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce the public health measure, but since then – but since then the minimum price of alcohol that can be sold has not changed from the initial level of 50 pence l ‘unity.

The group said if the minimum price had held up with inflation, it would now be at 61 pence.

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP government implemented the policy after a legal challenge.

AFS said the introduction saves lives after it was revealed there was a 10% drop in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland in 2019, with 1,020 deaths compared to 1,136 the last year.

The coronavirus has pushed back the Scottish government’s plans to review prices last year.

AFS calls on the next government to raise the level to “at least” 65p, as well as a commitment to raise it in line with inflation.

Alison Douglas, Managing Director of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “The minimum unit price is working. It has reduced alcohol consumption and there are early signs that it is preventing disease and saving lives. But the policy has the potential to deliver even greater benefits.

“The time has come to raise the minimum price not only to take account of inflation since Parliament approved the MUP nine years ago, but also to set it at a level that will save more lives and prevent a new generation to develop a problematic relationship with alcohol.

“We need the next Scottish government to raise the minimum unit price to at least 65 pence per unit and protect its positive effects in the future by ensuring that the price is raised in line with inflation.”

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