The consultation invited comments on the Scottish Government's preferred minimum unit price of 50 pence. Out of the total number of responses of 130, 70 responded to the proposed price directly. Of these 70, 52 (74.3%) indicated that they are in favour of the 50 pence minimum unit price. Sixty-four of the 70 respondents (91.4%) who commented on the proposed price are either in favour of a 50 pence per unit minimum price or a higher minimum unit price.
Many respondents commented on issues concerning the principle of minimum unit pricing as a policy, but that was not what was being consulted upon. The principle of minimum unit pricing was consulted upon previously:
Of those respondents commenting on the principle of minimum unit pricing, the main themes identified were:
- Evidence base;
- Impact on cost of living / lower income households;
- Increased revenue to the alcohol industry;
- Impact on harmful drinkers;
- Education / awareness;
- Treatment and recovery services;
- Cross border / illicit sales / online sales.
Many of these matters are covered in the refreshed Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment which covers the impact the policy will have on many of the above groups and sectors. The Scottish Government will be issuing guidance on the implementation of minimum pricing at 50 pence per unit, and this has been produced in conjunction with those involved in the process including retailers, wholesalers, producers, Licensing Standards Officers, Police Scotland. Both of these documents will be available at www.minimumunitpricing.scot.
Taking account of a range of factors, including the responses to this consultation, the Scottish Government concludes that a minimum unit price of 50 pence per unit provides a proportionate response to tackling alcohol misuse, as it strikes a reasonable balance between public health and social benefits and intervention in the market. Scottish Ministers will now proceed to propose to the Scottish Parliament that a minimum price of 50 pence per unit is introduced from 1 May 2018.