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Scottish Government consults on raising minimum unit pricing Published Date: 22/07/2023

According to the Daily Record, the alcohol trade in Scotland is being surveyed by the Scottish Government on minimum unit pricing (MUP), with options including keeping it at 50p, or increases to 60p, 70p, 80p or more than 80p.

The Federation of Independent Retailers (FIR) said the potential top-tier rises could “price out” those drinking beer or wine. Analysis of raising MUP to 80p would raise an average bottle of Scotch whisky by more than £8 and a Blossom Hill red wine by almost £3.

Hassan Lal, the FIR President, told the Record: “We can see the argument for increasing the price which has been in place for five years, a time of inflation. However, over 80p is over the top.”

The Scotch Whisky Association said that alcohol misuse “cannot be tied to the effectiveness of a particular policy” and “evaluating the impact of MUP is not straightforward and has been made more complex by the pandemic”. It said the government should “fully consult on any future measures” with the alcohol industry “before considering the next steps on MUP”.

According to the Drinks Business, the news follows a report in January that Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) in Scotland had a “minimal” economic impact on the nation’s alcohol sector.

But this month, Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane has written to the UK Statistics Authority calling for an investigation into the Public Health Scotland report which claimed the minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol was having a “positive impact” on health outcomes.

Gulhane, the Scottish shadow health minister and a Conservative MSP, has written to chair of the authority, Sir Robert Chote, after Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf cited the final report in Holyrood, and said the policy was “quite literally saving lives”.

According to Gulhane, 32 of the 40 studies mentioned in the report don’t cite the health outcomes of MUP, and a further seven of the other eight studies into health outcomes reached negative or inconclusive verdicts. Only a single study, he claimed, said deaths might have been averted.