Scotland: Economic Impact of MUP
A study commissioned by NHS Health Scotland, into the effects of minimum unit pricing (MUP) policy in the country found it had a modest economic impact.
Scotland was the first country to implement MUP measures for alcohol. The policy increased the prices of cheap and high alcohol content beverages. Already, the results from Scottish MUP show it is working even better than projected.
The alcohol industry aggressively lobbied against this measure before its adoption. Despite this, the new study commissioned by NHS has found the industry was only affected modestly from MUP. A drop in demand for some products has been offset by increased prices and retailers have adapted to the changes.
According to the study, no retailers or producers had reported reducing staff numbers or investment as a result of MUP.
According to Frontier Research, demand changed in a number of ways in the first nine months following MUP coming into force:
- Sales of products that were previously retailing below the minimum unit price decreased the most.
- Demand for smaller sizes, low-alcohol products or premium products less affected by price increases, has seen some producers and retailers adapt their strategy and product offering in response to MUP.
Extensive evaluation of the MUP policy measure
NHS Health Scotland commissioned the research as part of a wide-ranging evaluation of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 which established MUP.
The research looks into both the impact MUP could make to levels of alcohol-related health and social harm and the effects on the alcohol industry in Scotland.
With regards to cross-border trade with England, the study found that cross-border trade was happening from before MUP with Scottish people close to the border doing their shopping in England.
The next findings from the extensive and on-going MUP evaluations are expected in early 2020 and will include the effect of the policy on children and young people.
The MUP policy in Scotland has a sunset clause where the Scottish Parliament is set to vote before May 1, 2024 on whether or not the policy will continue.
Even a small reduction in the amount of alcohol consumed in Scotland will bring big benefits for people’s health,” said Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, as per, BBC.