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Scotland introduces minimum alcohol price

The Scottish Government has decided to introduce a minimum unit pricing for alcohol, it was revealed earlier this week. 

The measures will mean alcohol retailers will not be able to sell discount alcohol, instead pricing it by the amount of units it contains. 

Welcoming the ruling, Health Secretary for Scotland Alex Neil said: “We have always believed minimum unit pricing is the right thing to do to tackle Scotland's problematic relationship with alcohol. 

"Minimum unit pricing will target cheap alcohol relative to strength that is favoured by hazardous and harmful drinkers and which contributes to much of the alcohol-related harm we see in Scotland.

“We now look forward to being able to implement minimum unit pricing and making that transformational change in Scotland's relationship with alcohol.”

Sir Ian Gilmore, Royal College of Physicians special advisor on alcohol and chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, believes the ruling sends out a “strong message”. 

He said: “The health community is not prepared to be steamrollered when the health of the public is at stake. 

“Scotland has a proud history of leading the way in UK public health with measures like the ban on smoking in public places, and we hope that the strong line the Scottish government has taken will also strengthen the resolve of Westminster on this issue."

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland said:

"There is clear evidence that increasing price will reduce consumption and thereby reduce the health harms associated with excessive drinking.  

“While our position is based on evidence, industry opposition to minimum unit pricing is based on opinion and a primary concern about profits.”

English health leaders are calling for a minimum unit pricing (MUP). Scotland is the first country in Europe to introduce such a measure.