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Scottish health charities call for excise duty rise to tackle cheap alcohol
Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) are calling on all Scottish political parties and MPs to campaign for the UK government to increase alcohol duties in its coming budget.
Excise duties remain under the control of Westminster.
While the Scotch Whisky Association and its supporters continue to block implementation of the Scottish Government’s alcohol minimum unit pricing legislation, twenty two Scots die because of alcohol every single week. People living in our most deprived communities are 8 times more likely to need hospital treatment and 6 times more likely to die because of alcohol.
We can’t afford for cheap alcohol to get even cheaper, but this is what has happened over the last three budgets, with successive duty cuts and the removal of the alcohol duty escalator. These cuts don’t get passed on to pub drinkers, but have enabled supermarkets to drop their prices even further. Today, corner shops and supermarkets are selling 3 litres of strong cider for as little as 15p per unit. Increasing alcohol duty is not a substitute for minimum unit pricing but is an important and complementary measure.
Scottish politicians have often taken the lead in prioritising public health over profits for big business. They need to step up to the mark now and support increased alcohol duties in the UK budget.