Alcohol - Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) - continuation and future pricing: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to the public consultation on whether Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) should be continued as part of the range of policy measures in place to address alcohol related harm, and, in the event of its continuation, the level the minimum unit price should be set going forward.

7. Conclusions

Many individuals and stakeholders with detailed knowledge took part in the consultation, sharing their views on the impact of MUP since it was introduced, and their views on whether it should continue and at a higher minimum unit price. Reflecting their experience and perspectives, this report provides a high-level summary of the consultation responses. For more detail, readers are encouraged to look to individual responses where permission was given for publication[3].

Overall, two fifths (39%) supported continuing MUP and three fifths (59%) were opposed, while one third (32%) agreed with the proposed minimum unit price of 65ppu and two thirds (66%) disagreed. While most respondents held firm views either for or against the proposals, there were significant differences between individuals and organisations. Among organisations, 88% favoured continuing MUP and 79% supported an increase to 65ppu, whereas among individuals 27% and 19% supported the respective proposals.

These mixed views were reflected in the qualitative comments. Those opposed to continuing MUP or increasing the minimum unit price raised a variety of concerns. These included an additional financial burden, a lack of evidence that MUP works in practice, that the approach is unfair to moderate drinkers, and the potential for further unintended harm to hazardous and harmful drinkers and their families. Negative impacts on retail, alcohol and hospitality businesses were also noted.

Conversely, those who favoured extending MUP or increasing the minimum unit price argued that the available evidence shows that MUP has been effective. Many respondents, particularly public health and third sector organisations, described positive impacts on public health and reducing health inequalities due to reduced alcohol consumption. Some respondents also argued that initial concerns about MUP had not come to pass and did not pose a barrier to continuing the approach.

Supporters most commonly agreed that the proposed 65ppu was correct, though a recommendation that the minimum unit price should rise over time, possibly using an automatic mechanism, was made by many respondents. A minority of respondents advocated for an alternative minimum unit price, both higher and lower than 65ppu.

More broadly, MUP’s role as part of a wider strategy was explored by many, with calls for range of alcohol harm prevention measures to be used alongside targeted action and support for the most vulnerable. There were also multiple requests for more research and evidence into the impact of MUP, and for more engagement and consultation with the people and sectors most affected by the policy.



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