Scotland: MUP Law Compliance High
NHS Health Scotland reports shows pioneering policy has been successfully implemented. The new policy of minimum unit pricing for alcohol (MUP) has been implemented effectively, the report has found. The first study of the policy, which came into force in May 2018, found compliance was high among licensed premises in Scotland.
The report published by NHS Health Scotland is one of a series of evaluations of MUP, a critical tool to help prevent and reduce rampant alcohol harm in Scotland.
Evidence-based public health policy making
MUP set a floor price of 50p per unit of alcohol and the legislation is requires to be monitored regularly assessing its impact.
According to the first report, police and local authority officials with a licensing remit found no increase in illegal and unlicensed alcohol activity since the law was introduced.
The report said pubs, clubs and restaurants, which typically charge higher prices for alcohol than off-premises, such as supermarkets, had been largely unaffected by MUP.
BBC reports that inspectors found some examples of non-compliance among convenience stores and supermarkets, but they were considered minor and were swiftly resolved. One of the greatest risks of non-compliance was found along the border with England, where some retailers remained uncertain which licensing regime they fell under.
Officials reported the retailers were already describing some changes in purchasing habits, according to The Guardian reporting:
For example, some customers who were previously known to buy large-volume, high-strength ciders, and were thought to no longer be able to afford them under the price increase of MUP, were now, reportedly, buying bottles of wine.”
Per BBC reporting, Elinor Dickie, public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland, who wrote the report, said:
Minimum unit pricing has the potential to improve Scotland’s relationship with alcohol and reduce the harm it causes.
But MUP in the form we have it in Scotland hasn’t been put it in place anywhere before. That’s why it’s so important to gather evidence of its impact through a robust and comprehensive evaluation.”
Despite heavy alcohol industry opposition, MUP is succesful
The introduction of MUP was held up by a series of repeated legal challenges by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) attempting to derail the lives saving measures. SWA kept claiming it was a restraint of trade.
But MUP was eventually introduced in May 2018, held up the the courts of the EU, Scotland and the UK.. Similar legislation is now set to come into force next year in Wales as well as Ireland.