Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) Continuation and future pricing: Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Scottish Government developed a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment to analyse the costs and benefits of the continuation and uprating of Minimum Unit Price (MUP) on businesses.


Table 74 below summarises the costs and benefits of the options outlined above. Given the analysis above, and the summary, Scottish Minister’s decision is to proceed with Option 4.a.iii: continue MUP, and increase the level to 65ppu. This is considered to strike the most appropriate balance between the positive health impacts and the impact on the market.

Table 74: Summary of Costs and Benefits of all options

Option 1: Do nothing and let the 2012 Act requirements sunset i.e. cease


Would benefit drinks producers who could sell products for below 50ppu in the absence of a price floor.

It could also benefit retailers who rely on sales of the cheapest drinks for a large share of revenues.

While on average spending would be expected to increase, for some individuals the cost of consumption would fall.


The removal of MUP is estimated to increase alcohol consumption and hence alcohol harms, which is not consistent with our policy aim of reducing alcohol-related harm.

There would be an increase in hazardous and harmful drinkers and the increase in mortality (+131) and hospital admissions (+1,751) in the first year would be felt most acutely by those in the most deprived areas of Scotland. NHS costs increase.

Retail revenue forecast to fall -0.4%

Option 2: Continue MUP at 50ppu


Minimal transition costs: businesses would see a continuation of current MUP implementation.

Health harms would be reduced compared to no MUP but this effect is likely to diminish as inflation erodes the real value of the MUP level.


Health costs increase as time passes and inflation erodes real value of MUP.

Approximating from row 2 of Table 8:

Deaths +82 and hospital admissions +1,125 compared to 60ppu in 2023.

Option 3: Continue MUP at a level lower than 50ppu


Lower price floor would allow price competition at lower levels.

Products de-listed at 50ppu might re-enter market, increasing choice.


Estimated to increase alcohol consumption due to lower prices, not consistent with aim of policy.

Option 4: Continue MUP at levels above 50ppu

4.a.i: 55ppu


Increased health impact compared to 50ppu in cash terms 2023.

Lower impact on market: 37% affected (2022),

Lower than inflation rise – retailer prices can be lower in real terms, leading to more competition.

Exchequer revenue increase +1.0%


Lower than inflation rise: estimate +49 deaths; +654 hospital admissions compared to 60ppu in 2023.

Small increase in healthcare costs

Retailer revenue forecast to decrease -0.2% (compared to 60ppu)

4.a.ii. 60ppu


Maintains level of health impact relative to 50ppu in 2019, approximately equivalent to increasing MUP by CPIH, keeping the price constant in real terms.

PHS evaluation estimated MUP at 50ppu in 2018 reduced deaths directly caused by alcohol consumption by 13.4% and likely reduced hospital admissions by 4.1% up to the end of 2020 compared to no MUP.

Cheapest alcohol does not become relatively more affordable.

Producers of high priced products might benefit if consumers perceive quality as a reason to switch from a newly higher priced product.


Larger impact on market than at 50ppu at implementation. Impact 52% of market (2022).

On-trade retailers revenue falls due to consumer switching to off-trade.

Producers of alcohol currently below 60ppu are likely to see greater reductions in sales.

The evaluation of MUP found some evidence of increased harms as a result of the increase in spending on alcohol, particularly for those with alcohol dependence on low incomes.

Minor operational costs for retailers to update pricing systems, though evaluation found MUP quickly became ‘business as usual’.

4.a.iii. 65ppu


A real terms increase in MUP, reducing health harms. Estimate -60 deaths (Y1) and -774 hospital admissions compared to 60ppu.

The modelling estimates that the health benefits would be experienced most acutely by those in the most deprived groups of the population on average (22 fewer deaths in the most deprived SIMD quintile and 6 fewer deaths in the least deprived SIMD quintile in year one of the policy compared to a 60ppu MUP.

Retail revenue increases 0.1% (£4.4m) in year one.

15,742 fewer hazardous drinkers, 11,403 fewer harmful drinkers.

Cumulative NHS savings over 5 years of £5m (undiscounted) assuming MUP raised in line with inflation annually.


Larger market impact than 60ppu, 64% of volume affected (2022).

Minor operational costs to retailers updating pricing systems.

Producers with a large share of sales below 65ppu most impacted. In 2022, vodka would be the most-affected off-trade category.

Higher MUP more likely to generate unintended adverse consequences. However, there was limited evidence of this when MUP was introduced at 50ppu so there is uncertainty around the extent that rising to 65ppu would generate these.

4b: Continue MUP, increasing to 70ppu, 75ppu or 80ppu


Further reductions in alcohol harms; reaching -197 deaths.

Retail revenue estimated to be broadly unchanged.


Much greater impact on alcohol market reaching 80% of off-trade volume.

Significant impacts on consumers and businesses from rising prices.

Exchequer Tax and Duties reduced by up to 5.9%.



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