MUP ‘implemented effectively’ in Scotland
Scotland’s policy for minimum unit pricing (MUP) on alcohol has been “implemented effectively”, according to a new report published by NHS Health Scotland.
Scotland’s MUP policy came into force on 1 May 2018 and requires all licensed premises in the country to set a floor price of 50p per unit of alcohol.
The study from NHS Scotland found that compliance was so far high amongst licensed premises in Scotland.
Elinor Dickie, public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said: “Minimum unit pricing has the potential to improve Scotland’s relationship with alcohol and reduce the harm it causes. But MUP in the form we have it in Scotland hasn’t been put it in place anywhere before. That’s why it’s so important to gather evidence of its impact through a robust and comprehensive evaluation.
“This study represents a crucial foundation for the rest of our evaluation. Successful implementation is an important first step for any policy to achieve its intended outcome. Having now established that MUP was well implemented and compliance is high, we can be confident in assessing findings from other studies in the evaluation portfolio on the extent to which MUP has affected other outcomes”.
Licensing standards officers, trading standards officers and police officers visited on- and off-trade premises, finding that the off-trade were largely compliant with MUP legislation. Where examples of non-compliance were identified, issues were considered minor and were resolved.
The report said that due to the higher prices typically found in the on-trade these businesses had been largely unaffected by the implementation of MUP.
Douglas Frood, National Licensing Standards Officers Network chair, said: “Following the introduction of MUP, the study shows licensing standards officers played an important role in supporting businesses to comply with the legislation. We would like to recognise their professionalism in incorporating these additional checks into their inspection duties, as part of the implementation of MUP.
“Practitioners felt the trade were receptive to the new condition, and highlighted both the level of engagement amongst licence holders and their willingness to comply with the legislation. The finding that no known increase in illegal and unlicensed alcohol activity related to the introduction of MUP was reported is also to be welcomed”.
After MUP was introduced in Scotland last year, Wales also announced plans to implement a minimum price for alcohol. Lawmakers in England have also faced calls to enforce a similar policy.