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Scottish Government Announces Retention Of Minimum Unit Pricing For Alcohol

Scottish Government Announces Retention of Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister delivered a statement today to the Scottish Parliament confirming the Government’s intention to continue with Minimum Unit Pricing and that the pricing level going forward will increase to 65 pence per unit.

If the Parliament votes to agree, this price increase will be implemented from 30th September 2024 to give sufficient time for retailers and their employees to make necessary changes. 

Scottish Ministers have weighed up the potential effects of continuing MUP including the potential public health benefit and the potential effects on industry and business in reaching this conclusion.

In responding to the announcement the Scottish Licensed Trade Association released the following press release:-

SLTA welcomes the retention of minimum unit pricing in Scotland.

The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association), a long-time supporter of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Scottish Government to retain MUP in Scotland.

It has fully supported the principle of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol and commended the Scottish Government in 2011 for its efforts to tackle the problem of “cheap booze” and the consequences of irresponsible promotions in Scotland.

The trade association said that controls on pricing continue to be the foundation for other complementary policies to be effective in cracking down on irresponsible pricing and promotions.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, commented: “Scotland has long had a challenging relationship with alcohol and the link between low prices and increased consumption is clear. The sale of cheap alcohol has been a major factor in many people developing alcohol-related problems so a proportionate increase in MUP makes absolute sense.

“Pubs and bars provide a controlled and safe environment for people drinking alcohol whereas people drinking at home are not necessarily aware of how much they are drinking. The retention of and the proposed increase in the level of MUP will help avoid a return to the days of deep discounting and irresponsible promotions which were particularly seen in supermarkets where alcohol, on some occasions, was being sold cheaper than bottled water and below cost as a lost-leader.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association would also welcome the introduction of a review process to determine any future increases or decreases in the level of MUP.

“The 50p level was approved in the Scottish Parliament nearly 12 years ago so we believe that with rises in inflation since then, it was time to increase MUP from September 30.”

Mr Wilkinson said the introduction of MUP in May 2018 helped bring back price stability to the market and described the Scottish Government’s policy as “robust”, adding: “Minimum unit pricing is one policy where we wholeheartedly support the Scottish Government for its robust action.”

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