Reducing harm caused by alcohol


AFS welcome Scottish Government plans to increase MUP

On Thursday 8 February 2024, Deputy First Minister, Shona Robinson, gave a statement on minimum unit pricing and announced the Scottish Government's intention to continue the policy and increase its price to 65p per unit.

In response to the announcement, Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said, “We welcome the announcement from the Scottish Government that they intend to lay orders to continue the minimum unit pricing policy, and to increase the price to 65p per unit.

“It’s encouraging to see cross-party support on the issue. With the recent rise in alcohol deaths, and the impact of the pandemic we need the Scottish Parliament to work together. Without support to increase the price, the positive effects we’ve seen will be reversed, with hundreds of people experiencing suffering and loss because of alcohol. This is particularly true for people living in our most deprived communities, where we’ve seen the greatest benefits from MUP.

“To ensure we continue to benefit from minimum unit pricing into the future the Scottish Government must also introduce an automatic uprating mechanism to ensure MUP rises in line with inflation.

 “But minimum unit pricing won’t solve all of Scotland’s problems with alcohol on its own. We also need a wider package of measures implemented including controlling the ready availability of alcohol and restricting how alcohol is marketed. This must be accompanied by increased investment, and improvements in treatment and recovery support to ensure timely access for those who are already experiencing alcohol problems.”

The extensive evaluation from Public Health Scotland found that MUP significantly reduced deaths and averted hospital admissions caused by alcohol. But despite the positive impact of MUP, alcohol harm has been increasing due to the well-documented effects of the pandemic on alcohol consumption and deaths.  

At the same time, the impact of the 50p minimum unit has been eroded due to high levels of inflation.  To ensure that we do not see the negative health impacts caused by alcohol and the associated NHS costs spiral, the minimum unit price must be increased.  

Alcohol Focus Scotland and more than 30 other organisations including medical colleges, public health professionals and children’s charities have been campaigning for the minimum unit price to be increased to at least 65p per unit to combat the recent rise in alcohol deaths, and the impact of the pandemic.


Thursday 8 February 2024