Scottish communities backed by doctors and health advocates are calling to raise the minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol to 65p per unit of alcohol. This would match the alcohol floor price to the inflation rate and ensure continued public health gains from MUP.

Drawing attention to the three year anniversary since the historic MUP policy came into force in Scotland, communities are calling to raise the alcohol floor price from the current 50p per unit to 65p per unit.

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and Alcohol Focus Scotland have both called for this adjustment to the minimum unit price so that it will match with inflation.

The MUP policy came into effect on May 1, 2018. It has been yielding positive effects in the first years of full implementation, such as reducing alcohol harm in Scotland.

Alcohol harm in Scotland is massive, rooted in the country’s pervasive alcohol norm. Movendi International has previously reported about the alcohol burden in the country. In Scotland alcohol harm and resulting deaths grew rapidly with the advent of supermarket sales of cheap alcohol products, fueling heavy alcohol use. The MUP policy reduces harm by tackling the cheap alcohol problem.

According to statistics from the National Records for Scotland alcohol specific deaths have fallen by 10.2% within the first year of MUP implementation.

MUP is working, it is saving lives but to continue to do so at a meaningful level, SHAAP propose an immediate increase in the minimum price to 65p per unit,” said Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, The Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), as per The Herald.

Resetting the level at 65p would take account of inflation and allow a modest uplift to increase the health benefits.”

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, Chair, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

At the time of implementation the Scottish government committed to reviewing the price after two years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the review.

Alcohol Focus Scotland states that a review of the price should go beyond offsetting the effects of inflation to ensure better public health gains. The policy was approved originally in 2012, and based on the retail price index 50p in 2012 is equivalent to 61p in 2021.

It is also necessary to ensure the positive effects of MUP are continued by systematically increasing the price according to inflation.

… the policy has the potential to deliver even greater benefits. Now is the time to increase the minimum price to not only account for inflation since the Parliament approved MUP nine years ago, but also set it at a level that will save more lives and prevent a new generation from developing a problematic relationship with alcohol,” said Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, as per The Herald.

We need the next Scottish Government to increase the minimum unit price to at least 65p per unit and to future-proof its positive effects by ensure that the price is increased in line with inflation.”

Alison Douglas, chief executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland

Source Website: The Herald