Health groups make fresh plea for minimum pricing

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Minimum pricing, Alcohol focus scotland, Scotland, Scottish parliament

Three leading health groups have urged the Scottish government to press ahead with plans for a minimum price - despite an updated study showing it...

Three leading health groups have urged the Scottish government to press ahead with plans for a minimum price - despite an updated study showing it would save fewer lives than previously thought.

The British Medical Association (BMA), Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) have today put in a fresh submission to the Scottish Health Committee, which is currently looking at minimum pricing.

The committee invited the groups to comment after a revised version of a Sheffield University study estimated a 40p minimum price would save 119 lives a year, compared to 210 stated in the original study.

But the three health groups argue a minimum price is still required.

Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said: "In light of this evidence of social, economic and health improvement, we believe that minimum pricing is the single most effective policy to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland.

"We urge the Scottish Parliament to support the introduction of minimum pricing in Scotland."

The groups' submission also reveals a desire to see further tax hikes.

"Above-inflation increases in alcohol duties are a welcome reversal of policy at a UK level and if maintained in the long-term will work to raise the real price of alcohol and limit consumption and harm," it says.

"However, increases in alcohol taxation alone will be not be sufficient to raise the price of the cheapest alcohol by an amount that will substantially reduce the harm associated with its use."

Earlier this month, the Scottish National Party said it would consider "any workable alternatives" to minimum pricing, but still planned to operate the measure on a trial basis.

Related topics: Health & safety

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