Health target

Alcohol price increase would hit home drinkers

Drinking at home
Drinking at home may get more expensive (pic: Lorenzo Rui)

A further rise in the legal minimum price of alcohol is being proposed to cut Scotland’s drink-related health problems.

Proposals being considered by Scottish ministers would target problem drinkers but would also hit retailers who say that raising the legal minimum price will curb spending by those who enjoy a glass of wine or beer at home.

The current minimum unit price (MUP) was set in 2018 at 50p per 8g unit of alcohol, but is due to expire next year.

A rise to 80p per unit would see a six-pack of Tennent’s lager increase from around £6 to £9.60 while a typical £5 bottle of wine would be priced above £8.

Some bottled brands of Scotch whisky would rise from £20 to £32 and a £13 bottle of gin from around £13 to almost £21.

The Scottish government is currently quizzing the drinks industry about raising the MUP and the impact it would have on businesses.

Hussan Lal, Scotland president of the Federation of Independent Retailers, said: “This could price out those who look forward to a beer or a glass of wine. It would be particularly hard when family budgets are already badly squeezed by the cost of living crisis.”

Reports on the impact of the policy on health are highly controversial with conflicting evidence that it makes any difference to drinking habits or the nation’s health.

A report published by Public Health Scotland and Glasgow University estimated that it had led to a fall of around around 150 deaths and 400 hospital admissions, with the biggest reductions in deprived areas.

However, research from Sheffield University found that the policy had failed to reduce alcohol consumption among the heaviest drinkers.

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