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Minimum Pricing Bill

01/11/2011

It is time for Scotland's Parliament to join forces with those across Scotland who are serious about tackling our battle with alcohol misuse, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said today as the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill was published.

The Bill looks to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as a condition of licence. It also sets the formula for calculating the minimum price (based on the strength of the alcohol, the volume of the alcohol and a price per unit of alcohol).

A specific minimum price per unit of alcohol will be announced during the Bill process, but firstly the University of Sheffield are rerunning their minimum price modelling to reflect the most up to date data.

Support for minimum pricing has come from all quarters - the Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive, all 17 of Scotland's public health directors in NHS Scotland, the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland Sir Harry Burns, British Medical Association, the Royal Colleges, ACPOS, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Church of Scotland, various children's charities, Tennents, Molson Coors and Greene King.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:

"Scotland's unhealthy relationship with alcohol is one of the most pressing public health challenges facing us as a nation and we need to take action to tackle it. Here we have a second opportunity to add the missing piece in the legislative jigsaw - introducing minimum pricing. I urge my parliamentary colleagues to take it.

"We should not lose sight of what has been achieved during the last four years. We have had a wide ranging debate on alcohol pricing and there is now widespread recognition across the country of the need to tackle pricing.

"We have introduced a ban on quantity discounts and promotions in off-sales have been restricted, but already we have seen that without minimum pricing these attempts to take action on Scotland's alcohol problem are being undermined. By setting a minimum price for a unit of alcohol, we can raise the price of the cheap supermarket white ciders, lager and value spirits sought out by problem drinkers.

"I hope that this time around MSPs will do the right thing and back this policy that has the support of doctors, nurses, the police and growing numbers of the general population. I will not shirk from leading the way in addressing this challenge. It is time for Scotland to win its battle with the booze."

Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Director of Public Health Medicine said:

"Greater Glasgow and Clyde experiences some of the highest alcohol related death rates in the UK and in the Western world. I strongly support minimum pricing as a key action to reduce over-consumption of alcohol in Scotland. Instead of leading the league table of alcohol related harm, Scotland now has the chance to lead the way in tackling alcohol problems."

The cost of alcohol consumption in Scotland is estimated to cost £3.56 billion each year, £900 for every adult.

A 45p per unit minimum price which was proposed in the last Parliament was estimated to result in the following benefits:

  • Reduction in deaths in year 1 by 50
  • Reduction in deaths per year by year 10 by 225
  • Fewer hospital admissions in year 1 by 1,200
  • Fewer hospital admissions per year by year 10 by 4,200
  • Fewer cases of violent crime by 400 per year
  • Fewer days absent from work by 22,900
  • Fewer numbers unemployed by 1,200

The total value of harm reduction for health, crime and employment in year one is £52 million and £721 million over 10 years. (Figures taken from University of Sheffield modelling for Scotland updated and published in April 2010.)

Sheffield are currently re-running the model with the most up to date data which includes the Scottish Health Survey 2010 data which was published on September 27, 2011.