Alcohol - Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) - continuation and future pricing consultation: Scottish Government response

Scottish Government response to the public consultation analysis and decision on whether Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) should be continued as part of the range of policy measures in place to address alcohol related harm.

Public Consultation


Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) sets a price per unit below which alcohol cannot be sold in Scotland. It was introduced in 2018 and the minimum price of alcohol was set at 50 pence per unit (ppu). The legislation that introduced MUP included a sunset clause that means the provisions which provide for a minimum unit price will expire at the end of 30 April 2024 if they are not continued by legislation. A public consultation was held in late 2023 to seek views on Scottish Ministers’ proposals to:

  • continue MUP beyond 30 April 2024; and
  • set the price at 65ppu.

The public consultation Alcohol: Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP): Continuation and Future Pricing was carried out from 20 September 2023 to 22 November 2023. A total of 545 responses were received and analysed.

The number of responses received from individuals was 432– this represents 79% of the total number received. The number of responses received from organisations was 113, representing 21% of the total number received. Of the total number of organisations that responded, 39% were from health organisations (both public and third sector). Responses from alcohol industry bodies, producers and retailers represented 19% of the total number responding from organisations, and 4% were from Local Government bodies.

Among all respondents, 39% supported MUP continuing, 59% were opposed and 2% did not answer. There were, however, significant differences between individuals and organisations. Just over one quarter (27%) of individuals supported MUP continuing, compared to almost nine in ten (88%) of organisations.

All public sector health organisations, international organisations, non-health third sector organisations, academic institutions and local government bodies responding to the consultation agreed MUP should continue. A clear majority of most other organisations were also supportive, with only a small number opposed. However, 83% of alcohol industry representative bodies and 60% of producers were opposed.

One third of respondents (32%) agreed with the proposed minimum unit price of 65 pence. Two thirds (66%) disagreed and 2% did not answer. Individuals and organisations held almost exactly opposing views. While 79% of individuals disagreed and 19% agreed, among organisations 79% agreed and 17% disagreed.

While the majority of respondents from most types of organisation supported the proposal, levels of support were slightly lower than those for continuing MUP. Levels of opposition were highest among alcohol industry representative bodies (83%), producers (80%) and retailers (50%).

The Scottish Government recognises that, as the independent analysis sets out:

“Public consultations invite everyone to express their views; individuals and organisations interested in the topic are more likely to respond than those without a direct or known interest. This self-selection means the views of respondents do not necessarily represent the views of the entire population.”

This public consultation was not the only means through which the Scottish Government sought the views of stakeholders and members of the public. For example, published public attitudes research in September 2023[2] found overall people were more likely to be in favour of MUP (43%) than against (38%). This public attitudes research was carried out by Ipsos MORI through an omnibus survey, which asked a nationally representative sample of 1,029 adults across Scotland whether they were in favour of or against MUP.

Listed below are the categories of the 5 most prevalent themes that emerged from the consultation at a total sample level, from most to least commonly mentioned, regardless of whether the theme is positive or negative. This is to provide an understanding of the overall prevalence of themes that were observed across the total sample.

  • An additional financial burden created either by MUP or by a price increase / that it is unfair to moderate drinkers
  • MUP will not deter people with alcohol dependence
  • Feedback on the evidence base – comments both agreeing and disagreeing that the evidence base suggest MUP has been effective
  • The need for more targeted action and support/ Support for a wide range of alcohol harm prevention measures, in some cases including MUP
  • Rationale for choosing 65ppu
  • General comments that about the operation of MUP

The full consultation analysis report is available on the Scottish Government’s website, and all of the consultation responses for which respondents have given permission to be published, can be found online.



Back to top