Minimum unit pricing to come into effect next May
The Scottish Government will implement its policy for minimum unit pricing on 1 May 2018.
A minimum price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol has been agreed by MSPs, Scotland’s health secretary Shona Robison has confirmed.
“We now want to hear from retailers, representative bodies and Licensing Standards officers about the practicalities of implementation,” Robison said.
The Scottish Government hopes that minimum unit pricing for alcohol will reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland.
“We want to introduce minimum unit pricing as quickly as possible,” said Robison.
She continued: “With alcohol on sale today at just 18 pence a unit, we have to act to tackle the scourge of cheap, high-strength drink that causes so much damage.
“Research shows a minimum unit price of 50 pence would cut alcohol-related deaths by 392 and hospital admissions by 8,254 over the first five years of the policy.”
Drinks trade groups have lobbied against MUP for a number of years, claiming it would be ineffective in tackling alcohol-related harm, and have been engaged in a protracted legal battle with the Scottish Government over its approval of the policy in 2012.
Last month, the industry was dealt a blow when the UK Supreme Court ruled that plans for MUP could proceed in Scotland.
Trade association Spirits Europe called the ruling a “sad day for the internal market”, arguing that MUP will “distort competition” between low-cost and higher-cost producers of alcoholic drinks.
The Scotch Whisky Association, one of the main advocates against MUP having pursued a case against it through numerous courts, said it “accepts” the ruling and wants to see the Scottish and UK governments “argue for fair competition on our behalf”.