Widespread support for calls to increase minimum unit price for alcohol to at least 65p

SPECTRUM joins 28 organisations supporting calls from Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) to increase the minimum unit price of alcohol in Scotland.

19 November 2021

28 organisations, including SPECTRUM, have joined forces to support calls from Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) to increase the minimum unit price in an effort to save more lives from alcohol and correct for inflation.

Pressure put on Scottish Government during Alcohol Awareness Week

In a letter to Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf MSP and Public Health Minister, Maree Todd MSP, the campaigners recommend the Scottish Government increases the current price of 50 pence per unit to at least 65p.

The letter highlights that while the initial findings from a Public Health Scotland evaluation of the initiative have been positive, the impact of a 50p MUP is likely to have been significantly eroded by inflation since it was approved by the Scottish Parliament nine years ago. This coupled with the effects of the pandemic has stalled Scotland’s progress on tackling alcohol harm.

Policy could double lives saved if increased

The campaigners emphasise that Scottish Government could save and improve more lives by increasing the minimum price. The original modelling of MUP calculated that setting a higher price will deliver greater benefits – a price of 60p per unit was predicted to save twice as many lives and hospital admissions as 50p per unit, while 70p was expected to deliver three times the effect.

We’ve seen that minimum unit pricing can have a positive effect. Unfortunately, inflation means we’re not seeing the full benefits. We need to off-set both the effects of inflation and the pandemic, and adjust the minimum unit price to a level that will save more lives and prevent a new generation from developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. We urge the Scottish Government to take action now and raise the minimum unit price to at least 65p.

The Scottish Government committed to review the price two years after the introduction of the policy. While this has understandably been delayed due to the pandemic, we cannot afford to wait any longer. This support from a wide range of organisations shows that experts in public health and beyond believe increasing the minimum unit price is the right thing to do. By taking action the Scottish Government can reduce the harm and pain caused by alcohol problems across Scotland as well as save many more lives.