Scotland: Off-Premise Sales Decline Due to MUP
Official data from Scotland report an off-premise alcohol sales decline due to minimum unit price (MUP).
Scotland implemented the MUP of minimum 50 pence per unit of pure alcohol from May, 2018. Since its implementation, evidence has been suggesting the policy is doing exactly what the Scottish government intended, which is preventing and reducing alcohol harm through driving down alcohol use, specifically heavy alcohol use.
As Movendi International reported previously, an NHS (now Public Health Scotland) study found, in one year of MUP implementation the volume of pure alcohol sold in shops fell by 3.6%, from 7.4 to 7.1 litres per adult.
New data from a research by Public Health Scotland collaborating with the University of Glasgow suggests the positive effect of reduced alcohol consumption is continuing due to MUP. The study findings suggest MUP resulted in a 4% to 5% net reduction in alcohol sales from supermarkets and off-licences, per adult when compared with England and Wales – where per adult alcohol sales increased in the same period – who do not have MUP policy.
Incorporating data from England and Wales controls for any changes in sales in a neighbouring region where the legislation was not introduced. Other factors such as household income, sales of alcohol through pubs and clubs and of other beverage types were also controlled for in the study. Existing trends and seasonal variations independent of MUP were also taken into account when calculating the drop in consumption.
The greatest net reductions were seen in sales of cider and perry, which also saw the greatest price increases from MUP. Reductions in sale of spirits and beer were smaller, but because they make up a considerable amount of the off-trade market, this reduction is important for the overall reduction in alcohol sales.
Wine, fortified wine and ready-to-drink alcohol were the only alcoholic beverages to increase in sales post-MUP.
It is unarguable that MUP reduced the sale of alcohol
The Scottish government’s Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick has commented that it is “now unarguable” that MUP brought about a reduction in the sale of alcohol.
The study takes account of a comparison with England and Wales, where MUP was not in place, and also factors such as underlying trends and seasonality,” said Joe FitzPatrick, Public Health Minister of Scotland, as per BBC.
The results mean it is reasonable to conclude that MUP was responsible for these reductions,” added the Minister.
Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland while saying MUP is achieving what it was meant to also reminded that Scotland should not become complacent as one measure alone would not be sufficient to reduce alcohol consumption and harm.
The Scottish government has a strong track record in tackling alcohol harm and they must continue to prioritise the nation’s health and wellbeing as part of our longer-term recovery from this crisis,” said Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, as per BBC.
The analysis published by Public Health Scotland is one of several in our evaluation examining the impact of MUP on population alcohol consumption. A further statistical analysis considering sales in the three years following the implementation of MUP will be published in 2022.