Reducing harm caused by alcohol

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Minimum pricing gets green light

In response to the UK Supreme Court’s judgement that minimum unit pricing for alcohol can be implemented in Scotland, Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:

"Today’s decision is a massive victory for Scotland’s health and for our democracy. Minimum unit pricing will save the lives of hundreds of Scots and improve the lives of thousands more. Despite Parliament passing this legislation unopposed five years ago, the Scotch Whisky Association has consistently obstructed it; putting their members’ profits over the health of the people of Scotland.  Scotland has been leading the way on minimum unit pricing but other countries, such as Ireland and Wales, are now also actively pursuing legislation.

"Minimum unit pricing is effective because it targets the kind of drinking most likely to lead to the greatest harm. The price of a pint in the pub won’t change but the price of strong white ciders and own brand spirits that are mainly bought by dependent drinkers will rise markedly. Sheffield University have calculated that moderate drinkers will only pay around £2.25 more per year. In the first year alone, a 50p minimum unit price will prevent an estimated 60 alcohol-related deaths, 1,600 hospital admissions and 3,500 crimes.

"Minimum pricing is Scotland’s biggest public health breakthrough since the ban on smoking in public places. The Scottish Government are to be applauded for determinedly seeing it through in the face of global spirits producers’ attempts to deter action and delay implementation. Our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, deserves credit for this. Let’s hope she can now get minimum pricing in place as soon as possible."

Read the UK Supreme Court judgment

Background information on minimum pricing for alcohol (pdf)