The Scottish government has recommended the minimum unit price for alcohol be set at 50p, following a public consultation. A plan to introduce a minimum unit price of 50p was originally approved by the Scottish parliament five years ago, as part of a wider effort to tackle excessive alcohol consumption and related health problems.
Implementation was subsequently delayed due to a legal challenge by the Scotch Whisky Association.
However, the UK Supreme Court decided in November 2017 that minimum unit pricing for alcohol could proceed in Scotland, ruling that it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim” that does not breach European Union law.
The recent consultation found broad support for a 50p minimum unit price, which will be introduced in May following its consideration by the Scottish Parliament.
Shona Robison, the Scottish health secretary, thanked respondents to the consultation for taking the time to express their views.
She pointed out that, since alcohol is on sale today “in some places at just 16p per unit”, the government must “tackle the scourge of cheap, high-strength drink that causes so much damage to so many families”.
Ms Robison added that this move will lead to thousands of lives being saved.
The Scottish government believes that a 50p minimum unit price would cut alcohol-related deaths by 392 and hospital admissions by 8,254 in the first five years of the policy.
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