Twitter Heats Up as Minimum Alcohol Price Law Enforced in Scotland

May 02, 2018, 04:33
Twitter Heats Up as Minimum Alcohol Price Law Enforced in Scotland

Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar has proposed a levy to claw back the extra profits retailers will make: "The introduction of minimum unit pricing is a significant moment - but can not be seen as "job done" by the SNP government when it comes to tackling Scotland's relationship with alcohol".

Bargain booze has become a little more expensive in Scotland, which says it is the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

Having achieved a unanimous ruling in the Supreme Court, the Scottish government agreed in February this year that the minimum price on a unit of alcohol would be 50 pence.

- What is Minimum unit pricing?

Its aim is to cut alcohol deaths and hospital admissions, as well as slashing crime and reducing costs to the health service, but now experts want the same in England and warn that any delay could have serious consequences for the North East.

However, fortified wine Buckfast will stay the same at £5.63, because this is already more than the minimum unit price.

Scotland's chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: 'As a nation we drink 40% more than the low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week for men and women.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the legislation as "bold and brave" action.

The Scottish Government said research shows that the move is expected to save 392 lives in the first five years of implementation. While in the past it was possible to purchase a two-litre bottle of strong (7.5% ABV) cider for £2.52, after today's law chain, the same bottle will cost at least £7.50. If ministers decide it hasn't worked after six years there is a clause in the legislation that will end the minimum pricing.

The policy is a world first, and is meant to address the harms to health caused by the sale and consumption of cheap, strong alcohol and reduce alcohol-related crime.

"But the effect builds over time and by year 20-which is full effect-it will save 121 lives here in Scotland", she added.

She said: "The eyes of the world will very much be on Scotland, not just today, but as the benefits of this policy start to be seen and felt".

- The legislation was passed in 2012, so why has it taken Scotland so long to have minimum pricing for alcohol? The WSTA's long held view is that MUP is likely to be ineffective in changing the behavior of problem drinkers. "The Westminster government should now follow Scotland's lead, and introduce MUP in England immediately".

"We work with people who are less wealthy than others so it makes a big difference because they're buying cheap alcohol in big quantities".

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