Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the first anniversary of the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland should be marked by raising the rate to at least 60p, sending a clear signal about our resolve to win the battle against the bottle.
- The minimum unit price of 50p was introduced on 1st May 2018.
- 100 people each day are admitted to hospital due to alcohol misuse.
- It is estimated that excessive consumption of alcohol costs £3.6 billion a year – equivalent to £900 for every adult.
- A minimum unit price of at least 60p per unit has been backed by the UK Faculty of Public Health, NHS Grampian and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
In 2012, when the 50p rate was first announced, it would have affected three-quarters of alcoholic drinks. However, inflation meant that by the time it was actually introduced it only affected around half.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“We’re now a year into the new alcohol pricing policy. This should be marked by raising the minimum unit price to 60p so we can tackle the damage alcohol is causing head on.
“The value of the 50p price was eroded by inflation in the years the policy was caught up in the courts. It is time to realise the policy’s original ambition.
“Scotland has an enduring and unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Excessive consumption hurts individuals, families and communities. These measures are a small price to pay to reduce the long-term burden on them and our under-pressure health and justice systems.
“Raising the minimum unit price to 60p would give us a real opportunity to effect change and send a clear signal about our resolve to win the battle against the bottle.”