Minimum unit pricing of alcohol : final business and regulatory impact assessment

Underlines the rationale for minimum unit pricing from health and economic perspectives, setting out anticipated costs and benefits for all parties affected by a minimum price of 50 pence per unit.

2. Title of Proposal – The Alcohol (Minimum Price per Unit) (Scotland) Order 2018

2.1. This draft Order sets the minimum unit price of alcohol at 50 pence (50p), and is made in exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 6A(4) of schedule 3, and paragraph 5A(4) of schedule 4, to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 by the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 [32] (“the Act”).

2.2. The draft Order is accompanied by this Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and laid before the Scottish Parliament for approval, prior to it being made by Scottish Ministers. Without the Order specifying a minimum price per unit, the formula in the Act is not operative, and cannot have any legal effect upon individuals. The draft Order sets out Scottish Ministers’ proposed minimum unit price of 50p.

2.3. A previous Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment [33] was completed in 2012 for the Act and the previous draft Order. Due to a legal challenge, the legislation was not enacted. That challenge has now been dismissed by the UK Supreme Court (for details see paragraph 3.5). The substantive case for the legislation remains the same. Where applicable, statistics, data and modelling outcomes used in the supporting evidence have been updated. In addition, where relevant, information on the court processes or evidence presented to the courts is included.

2.4. Minimum pricing is a new mandatory condition of a premises licence and an occasional licence, to be inserted by the Act into the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. If a premises licence holder or an occasional licence holder breaches a mandatory licence condition, there are penalties in place [34] .

2.5. The Act contains a formula for calculating the minimum price of an alcohol product based on, and proportionate to, the number of units of alcohol contained in the product. The formula works out the number of units of alcohol in the product (strength [35] multiplied by volume in litres and then multiplied by 100 [36] ) and then multiplies this by the “minimum price per unit” (which is the price specified by Order, i.e. 50p).

2.6. There is also a power in the Act that enables the Scottish Ministers to specify which pieces of existing legislation are to be the “relevant labelling provisions”. This is intended to be used to enable the “declared” strength by volume of an alcohol product, which is marked or labelled on that product in accordance with law, to be taken as the strength of the product for the purposes of the formula in the Act (as opposed to relying on the actual strength of the product).

2.7. The Act contains a review and ‘sunset’ provision. This means that the Scottish Ministers are required to review the effect of minimum pricing five years after implementation and report this to the Scottish Parliament. Minimum pricing will cease to have effect after six years unless the Scottish Parliament approves an Order, to be made by the Scottish Ministers, for it to continue.


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