Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Almost half of Scots in favour of minimum unit pricing

Analysis published today [22 September 2020] by Public Health Scotland of the 2019 Scottish social attitudes survey found almost half of resondants are in favour of minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol.

Each wave of the survey found more respondents in favour of MUP than against, with the proportion in favour increasing over time and the proportion against has fallen. In 2015, 41.3% of respondents were in favour and 33.4% were against MUP, but by 2019 respondents were almost twice as likely to be in favour (49.8%) than to be against (27.6%).

When respondents were asked why they held their particular attitude, the most common reasons for being in favour of MUP related to a perception that alcohol is a problem to be addressed in Scotland. The most common reasons for being against were concerned with whether or not MUP would be effective in reducing alcohol-related harm. Reasons for being for or against MUP were found to have changed little over time.

In response to the study, Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said, "It’s really positive to see that significantly more Scots are in favour of minimum unit pricing (MUP) than against. People recognise that as a nation we have a drink problem and many see that MUP can play a role in reducing consumption, particularly amongst heavier, poorer drinkers who suffer most. 

“The data from the first two years of MUP implementation provide encouraging evidence that minimum unit pricing is having the intended effect and that it will improve - and save - many people’s lives.  However, now is the time to review the level of the minimum unit price to ensure we maximise its benefits. 

“We also need to build on the progress we have made by addressing how readily available alcohol is and how heavily it is marketed.”

This study is part of the on-going evaluation of MUP.