Ash Denham MSP: landmark minimum unit pricing for alcohol will save hundreds of Scottish lives

On the same day as the Scottish Government introduces minimum pricing of alcohol in Scotland, Ash Denham MSP asked Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, about the process the Scottish Government will use to monitor the effectiveness of the pricing per unit of alcohol.

The Cabinet Secretary replied that minimum unit pricing will be monitored by NHS Scotland, and will focus on implementation and compliance, price, economic impact and attitudes to minimum unit pricing.

Scotland is the first country in the world to introduce minimum alcohol pricing.

The ambitious new legislation brought into force sets a minimum 50 pence per unit price, aimed at tackling the damage caused by cheap, high strength alcohol.

The minimum unit price for alcohol applies to both retailers that sell alcohol for drinking off the premises and businesses that sell alcohol for drinking on the premises.

Modelling from Sheffield University shows a minimum unit price of 50 pence is estimated to result in 121 fewer deaths per annum by year 20 of the policy and a fall in hospital admissions of just over 2,000 per annum by year 20 of the policy.

The Welsh Assembly has introduced its own legislation on Minimum Alcohol Pricing, while Ireland is also currently looking at proposals of its own.

Ash Denham MSP commented,

“Today marks a significant day for the Scottish Government’s ambition to turn around Scotland’s troubled relationship with alcohol.

“There remains a clear and proven link between consumption and harm, and minimum pricing is the most effective way to tackle cheap, high strength alcohol that causes so much damage to Scottish society.

“Alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion pounds a year- £900 for every adult.

“The cost to individuals and family life is much higher, and I am encouraged by the potential for minimum unit pricing to save hundreds of lives and drastically cut the number of hospital admissions.

“Addressing price is an important element to the Scottish Government’s long term strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm to society, and today is a crucial part of achieving this.”

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