Scottish Government to recommend 50p minimum price per unit of alcohol

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fighting cheap booze: the Scottish Government plans to introduce alcohol pricing at a minimum of 50p per unit
Fighting cheap booze: the Scottish Government plans to introduce alcohol pricing at a minimum of 50p per unit

Related tags: Minimum unit pricing, Scotland, Scottish government

The Scottish Government plans to introduce 50p minimum unit pricing for alcohol on 1 May 2018, Health Secretary Shona Robison has confirmed.

The decision was made following analysis of a public consultation, and the recommended price will now be laid before the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament passed legislation in 2012 which allows for the introduction of a system of minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

The legislation was then challenged in court, and this delayed the implementation of this public health policy. On 15 November 2017, the UK Supreme Court confirmed that the legislation which allows minimum unit pricing to be introduced was lawful.

Tackling cheap alcohol

Robison said the responses to the consultation indicated the majority of respondents who commented on the price were supportive of the 50p minimum unit price.

She said: “I am grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation on our proposed minimum price per unit of alcohol and I am happy to confirm that we will be moving forward with our recommendation of 50 pence.

“With alcohol on sale today in some places at just 16 pence per unit, we have to tackle the scourge of cheap, high-strength drink that causes so much damage to so many families. This move will save thousands of lives.”

Significant impact

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, commented: “Minimum Unit Pricing will have a significant impact on consumers and how businesses operate and we’ve been working with the Scottish Government to ensure there is comprehensive guidance in place.

"This is a unique policy – unlike any other across the globe - so it will present challenges, but it is important to establish how its impact will be measured over the next five years, before the sunset clause. What success looks like needs to be clearly set out. 

“The SBPA strongly supports policies and initiatives targeted at the minority of those who misuse alcohol and view this as the best way to reduce alcohol harm, without penalising responsible drinkers. We have been very active, with the removal of 1 billion units of alcohol from the UK market as well as raising unit awareness, providing consistent labelling and promoting lower strength products.

“In tackling alcohol related harm, it is education and awareness, through support for Drinkaware and other awareness programmes, alongside partnership working, between industry, local communities, police and the public health authorities that delivers the most effective results.”

A total of 130 responses were received during the consultation – 66 from organisations and 64 from individuals.

Of the 130 responses, 70 (53.8%) commented on the Scottish Government’s preferred minimum unit price of 50p. Of these 70, 48 were responses from organisations and 22 were from individuals.

Consultation responses

• 52 (74.3%) of the respondents who commented on the proposed price of 50 pence per unit were supportive of this price.

• 12 (17.1%) of the respondents who commented on the proposed price of 50 pence per unit stated that the minimum unit price should be higher than 50 pence per unit.

• Four (5.7%) of the respondents who commented on the proposed price of 50 pence per unit stated that the minimum unit price should be lower than 50 pence per unit.

Related topics: Legislation

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