Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Scotland calls time on cheap booze as minimum pricing starts

The price of whisky could go up by as much as £4 per bottle on some brands The price of whisky could go up by as much as £4 per bottle on some brands Credit Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images
Jodi Jackson | 02 May, 2018, 02:05

Cancer Research UK has welcomed minimum pricing for alcohol, which came into force today (1 May), but said that further action must be taken to cut the amount of deaths from alcohol-related illnesses.

The new laws will see a minimum price of 50p per unit set, with the price of low price, high strength alcohol set to soar.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) appealed against it, saying the plan conflicted with European Union trade rules, something the Supreme Court disagreed with.

The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act was passed by MSPs at Holyrood in 2012.

"Labour has made the case for a Social Responsibility Levy to claw back the windfall supermarkets could make from minimum unit pricing".

For the North East a five-year delay could mean 75 additional North East lives lost, 11,000 alcohol related crimes and 4,600 hospital admissions which otherwise could have been avoided, costing the region nearly £66m.

"Minimum unit pricing will save lives, cut crime and benefit the public finances". "Half of the crimes committed in Scotland are related to alcohol consumption".

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

PC Claire McNaney believes those most at risk will benefit from the minimum price of a unit being introduced here.

The legislation has been criticised by small government campaigners who say that it will only serve as a levy on the poor and will not in itself solve Scotland's alcoholism problems.

It's now illegal to sell liquor for less than 50 pence per unit.

"It is vital therefore that the impact of on businesses and on consumers of the MUP experiment in Scotland is rigorously and objectively monitored and evaluated over time".

Scottish authorities say alcohol misuse causes about 697 hospital admissions and 22 deaths a week.

"So they are probably drinking the cheap alcohol".

In terms of introducing a similar move in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), said: "When it comes to reducing alcohol harm, minimum unit pricing is one of the most potent tools we have at our disposal, with numerous studies and global evidence suggesting it can significantly reduce deaths and other health harms".

He said: We think there is enough evidence for the Government to bring it in in England, it's being brought in in Wales, we know that the plan's afoot in Northern Ireland and it's already happening as we know in Scotland, so England looks like an outlier.

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