Wales: Impact Assessment of MUP
The government of Wales have published the impact assessment of their minimum unit pricing (MUP) policy.
The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act) was passed by the National Assembly for Wales in 2018. The government issued the Integrated Impact Assessment concerning the draft Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Minimum Unit Price) Regulations 2019 – which specifies a 50p MUP for the purposes of the 2018 Act.
The Act and Regulations aim to reduce alcohol use among people who are most at risk from alcohol as these people consume large amounts of very cheap alcohol. Controlling pricing is one of the most effective methods to reduce alcohol harm available to governments as recommended by the World Health Organization.
The Impact Assessment found:
- Increasing alcohol prices will reduce consumption and thereby, decrease alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations.
- A 50p MUP would lead to 66 fewer alcohol-attributable deaths and 1,281 fewer alcohol-attributable hospital admissions per year.
- Introducing a minimum unit price of 50p is estimated to be worth £783m to the Welsh economy in terms of the reduction in alcohol-related illness, crime and workplace absence over 20 years.
Accordingly an MUP of 50p is specified through the Regulations. This will be laid before the Welsh National Assembly and be accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum and the Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Once MUP is implemented Ministers will have to report on the operation and effect of MUP in 5 years. An evaluation is also planned to decide on the continuation of MUP.
MUP can protect Wales against alcohol harm and UK tax cuts
In the United Kingdom, taxes are not devolved and hence the Welsh government does not have the power to set their own taxation levels. Therefore, MUP is one of the only and best methods available for Wales to regulate alcohol affordability.
Previously, Scotland implemented MUP and initial results show alcohol harm has reduced even more than expected.
Furthermore, a recent study reports that UK tax cuts caused nearly 2000 more deaths in England, but MUP in Scotland worked as protective factor against the UK tax cuts leading to lower levels of harm in Scotland. Through a Welsh MUP the same could be achieved for Wales as well.