I am pleased that today the Scottish Government is publishing the analysis of our ‘Alcohol – minimum unit pricing – continuation and future pricing: consultation’ that ran from September 2023 to November 2023, as well as the Government’s official response to issues raised in the consultation. The consultation, and previous stakeholder engagement, has provided valuable insights.
I made a statement to Parliament today that the Scottish Government will lay legislation on 19 February that seeks the approval of Parliament to continue Minimum Unit Pricing and to increase the price per unit to 65ppu. The increase in life expectancy in Scotland has stalled and modelling by Public Health Scotland suggests the burden of disease in Scotland will increase over the next 20 years. The Scottish Government must continue to take bold action to tackle this issue and to ensure that people in Scotland are more likely to live long and healthy lives.
MUP is a part of the Scottish Government’s approach to preventing ill health caused by non-communicable diseases – conditions caused by factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and diet. I recognise the significant role that alcohol-related harm plays across the population including, amongst other factors, in causing ill health.
I would like to express my gratitude to all the individuals and organisations who took the time to contribute their thoughts and opinions. As the consultation analysis shows, the responses set out a range of views held on MUP. This feedback has been helpful in supporting both considerations around MUP's next steps and the implementation of them. I also note public attitudes work published in late 2023, weighted to be representative of the wider public, that suggested views across the public as a whole were more nuanced.
Whilst there was a divergence of views on the best next steps for MUP, it is clear there was consensus that we must take action generally to reduce the harms caused by alcohol. The attached response sets out the Scottish Government’s response to the key feedback received from the public consultation.
On balancing the views received, and the evidence collated to date it is this Government’s intention that MUP should continue as a policy and at a price of 65p per unit. I believe this will contribute to reducing the health harms caused by alcohol in Scotland.
Thank you, once again, to everyone who engaged with the consultation last year.
Shona Robison MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance
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