Scotland sets minimum price for alcohol to fight drinking problems

Scotland sets minimum price for alcohol to fight drinking problems

Chief executive Shirley Cramer said numerous studies and worldwide evidence suggest MUP can significantly reduce deaths and other health harms.

"Our action is bold and it is fearless, and shows once again that we are leading the way in introducing innovative solutions to public health challenges".

Chair of BMA Scotland Dr Peter Bennie said: "It has been a long road to reach this point, but I am delighted that the persistence of alcohol campaigners, with strong BMA support, has paid off and minimum unit pricing has finally taken effect". If ministers decide it hasn't worked after six years there is a clause in the legislation that will end the minimum pricing.

"The introduction of MUP represents a major change to alcohol policy in Scotland".

Retailers must ensure that a unit of alcohol is not priced below 50p, and the Scottish government has warned pubs and shops that any infringement of the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Act could result in the loss of licences.

Licensing law expert Audrey Ferrie of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said that the impact of minimum unit pricing in Scotland would be watched with interest, particularly by other United Kingdom governments which are considering similar policies.

"It's no secret that Scotland has a troubled relationship with alcohol", she said.

The House of Malt in Carlisle is hoping to cash in on the minimum alcohol pricing ruling. They agree there is a problem with alcohol misuse but say alcohol-related harm in Scotland has declined in recent years.

John Mooney, senior lecturer in public health, has commented on similarities between parts of the country and the North East, as Scotland aims to cut alcohol deaths and hospital admissions, as well as slashing crime and reducing costs to the health service.

"We remain convinced there are more appropriate, proportionate and effective responses to tackle harmful use of beer, wine and spirits drinks".

But Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Research UK, says there is enough evidence for the same rule to be introduced in England now.

"We are delighted to see the Scottish Government leading the way with such progressive and responsible public health policy, and to see the other devolved national administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland progressing their own plans for MUP".

The Scottish Government's policy will increase the price of around half of the alcohol on supermarket shelves and will impact most drinkers, particularly those on lowest incomes.

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