The Scottish Government’s Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon has today announced the proposed minimum price for alcohol, which will be set at 45p per unit. The move it is claimed, will save lives, money and save future generations from the misery of alcohol misuse although whether the move will clear a vote in the Scottish Parliament remains to be seen …
The proposed minimum price for alcohol will be set at 45p per unit, it was announced today.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that saving lives, saving money and saving future generations from the 'harm and misery caused by alcohol misuse' are just some of the benefits alcohol minimum pricing could bring.
She said that introducing a minimum price of 45p per unit would have significant health and social benefits including, in the first year:
* 50 fewer deaths from alcohol-related harm
* 1,200 fewer hospital admissions
* A £5.5 million reduction in health care costs
* 22,900 fewer days absence from work
After 10 years, benefits would increase to:
* 225 fewer deaths from alcohol-related harm annually
* 4,200 fewer hospital admissions annually
* An £83 million reduction in health care costs over the 10 year period
Ms Sturgeon said: "For too long, too many Scots have been drinking themselves into an early grave. It is no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has plummeted in recent decades, alcohol-related deaths, disease, crime and disorder have spiralled.”
"I believe it's crucial that we reintroduce realistic alcohol pricing. It cannot be right that a man can exceed his weekly recommended alcohol limit for less than £3.50. That's why we're taking decisive action, including proposals to introduce a minimum price per unit, which would bring these pocket money prices to an end.”
"Getting the price right is vital for minimum pricing to work - too low and it will simply be ineffective. After careful consideration, we believe that 45p per unit is the right price. Our proposals have already won backing from respected health professionals at home and abroad and I hope, for the sake of our nation's health, they will also win the backing of the Scottish Parliament."
Dr Harry Burns, Scotland's chief medical officer, said: "Scotland has an unenviable reputation when it comes to alcohol. We are, sadly, world-class when it comes to damaging our health through heavy drinking. But that can change. Scotland led the way in the UK when it came to banning smoking in public places and I believe we must also lead the way in introducing a minimum price for alcohol.”
"Minimum pricing, as part of a package of wider measures, can help us to redress the balance when it comes to our unhealthy relationship with alcohol."
The Scottish Government will table an amendment to the Alcohol (Scotland) Bill to introduce the 45p price. The bill is about to start the 2nd stage of the parliamentary process.
Statistics published this week show that Scotland continues to drink more than every other part of the UK.