Historic Wales: MUP Comes Into Force
The historic minimum unit pricing (MUP) policy in Wales comes into force from March 2, 2020.
The minimum price for alcohol implemented through the policy is 50 pence, meaning retailers can’t sell alcohol below this price.
Early reports from MUP in Scotland found that it has already substantially reduced alcohol use in the Scotland, while consumption increased in both England and Wales.
Another study also found that Scotland’s MUP acted as a protective factor against alcohol tax cuts in the United Kingdom which caused many alcohol-related deaths.
MUP implementation in Wales was delayed due to European Union member country Portugal objecting to the policy. Portugal was also one of the countries that objected against MUP in Scotland. While the policy is hard-won, the Scottish example shows it is worth the effort as it prevents and reduces alcohol harm against people and especially people of lower socio-economic status.
Despite the alcohol industry’s aggressive lobbying against MUP policies and several EU member country objections on behalf of their alcohol industries, it was recently found that MUP in Scotland led to only a modest impact for the alcohol industry comparative to the massive gains for public health.
- 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.
The intervention of minimum pricing will reduce the harm done by alcohol, it’s an important step and will hopefully make people think about their relationship with alcohol,” said Dr Sarah Aitken, director of public health for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, as per BBC.
The Welsh government has been working with service providers and healthcare professionals to ensure information about the policy is available, and the appropriate services are in place to support people since last year. A national campaign was also launched to make the public, retailers and those affected by the change aware.