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Campaigners call to raise drink prices further to save more lives

This news post is 11 months old

Minimum pricing has been a success they claim

Health campaigners are calling for Scotland’s minimum alcohol price to be raised.

Charities, medical professionals and politicians have backed a call to increase the minimum unit price from 50p to 65p in a move they have said would be life saving.

A final assessment of the policy concluded that alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions had been lowered as had alcohol consumption.

The Scottish government said it would consider the report's findings.

In 2018 Scotland became the first ever country to place a minum price restriction on a unit of alcohol.

Academics are now saying that the policy has had a positive impact on health outcomes, including addressing alcohol-related health inequalities.

It said it reduced deaths directly caused by alcohol consumption by 13.4% and hospital admissions by 4.1%.

The report also said the largest reductions were seen in men and those living in the 40% most deprived areas.

 Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said “Minimum price has saved and improved hundreds of lives in Scotland. That is the clear message from the final evaluation by Public Health Scotland.

“It shows the Scottish Parliament was right to pass this world-first legislation back in 2012. And the Scottish Government was right to face down opposition from the alcohol industry who consistently put their profits above public health.

MUP has not only worked, it has out-performed expectations. The policy was anticipated to save 80 lives a year by year three, but the evaluation shows it has saved more than 250 lives a year, with people in our poorest communities benefiting the most.

“Now we know that minimum unit pricing is truly life-saving, the policy must be continued, and the price increased. To scrap it now or leave it at a level that will quickly lose its effect would condemn hundreds of people to unnecessary suffering.

“Alcohol Focus Scotland and 29 charities and medical organisations have called on the Scottish Government to uprate the minimum unit price to at least 65p per unit. We hope the Parliament will come together again as it did in 2012, to optimise this policy, improve the nation’s health and reduce the burden on our NHS.”