Scotland: Alcohol Sales at Lowest Level in 25 years
Alcohol sales in Scotland have fallen to their lowest level in 25 years after the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, according to new government data.
In 2018, Scotland was finally able to introduce minimum pricing for all alcoholic drinks, after overcoming numerous of lawsuits of the alcohol industry.
Minimum unit pricing (MUP) means that in Scotland, supermarkets and other off-licence alcohol outlets are banned from selling cheap or discounted spirits, wine, beers and cider. Only online sales from suppliers outside Scotland are not affected.
Minimum pricing has meant the average cost per unit is higher in Scotland, at 59p compared to 55p in England and Wales.
The big headline news is that per capita alcohol sales fell in Scotland from 10.2 to 9.9 litres per person, while sales rose in England & Wales from 8.9 to 9.1 l/person. pic.twitter.com/0uiXBf5zPv
— Colin Angus (@VictimOfMaths) June 19, 2019
Decreasing alcohol sales, still high rate of alcohol consumption
Alcohol sales are decreasing in Scotland, after the introduction of MUP. This is significant because alcohol sales increased in England and Wales in the same period, highlighting the effectiveness of the new alcohol floor price policy in Scotland.
However, the new data from NHS Scotland’s monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy (Mesas) project does not only contain good news. It also shows that alcohol consumption is still at a high level. Scots still buy 9% more alcohol per capita than people in England and Wales. But this gap is closing.
People in Scotland still consumed an average of 9.9 litres of pure alcohol on 2018, according to the new MESAS report. Nevertheless, alcohol consumption is decreasing
Scotland’s health secretary, Jeane Freeman, welcomed the figures, which also revealed a 3% reduction in alcohol use last year. These findings are a promising start in tackling Scotland’s difficult relationship with alcohol, the minister said, according to The Guardian.
There are, on average, 22 alcohol-specific deaths every week in Scotland, and 683 hospital admissions, and behind every one of these statistics is a person, a family, and a community badly affected by alcohol harm,” Freeman said, as per The Guardian.
For further reading:
MESAS monitoring report 2019
First published on 19 June 2019