Rona Mackay praises Scotland as ‘guiding light’ in confronting alcohol abuse

Rona Mackay praises Scotland as ‘guiding light’ in confronting alcohol abuse

 

SCOTLAND is a world leader in the war against damaging booze culture, Strathkelvin and Bearsden’s MSP has said.

It follows the announcement that the UK Supreme Court ruling minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

In 2012, the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed the Bill, so now the government can proceed enacting it.

The ruling makes Scotland the first country in the world to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol.

The law is aimed at tackling the purchasing of low priced high-strength beverages fuelling alcohol abuse, not at deterring the responsible drinkers of Scotland.

Rona Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said:

“Scotland has a rich heritage of producing fine alcohol and exporting it around the world but the dark side of this legacy is heavy alcohol abuse.

“Alcohol abuse causes untold misery to families across Scotland, who have lost parents and children to the devastating effects of addiction and easy access to high strength low priced booze.

“Minimum pricing strategy is one part of a bigger movement in Scotland to curb the levels of alcohol people are consuming by making the prices less desirable. It is targeted at cheap, low quality booze with high levels of alcohol in it, and will not impact on your moderate or many Whisky drinkers in Scotland.

“I am glad legal challenges to minimum pricing for alcohol are finally over and the will of the Scottish Parliament on this policy is finally respected.

“Given that it is a world-first, it shows Scotland up again – not for the first time in our history – to be a guiding light progressive thought and actions.”

Background (from the Scottish Government)

In Scotland:

  • Annual alcohol deaths statistics published in August show there were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths in 2016. This is up from 1,150 in 2015, an increase of 10%.
  • On average, alcohol misuse causes about 670 hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week – death rates are almost 1.5 times higher than in the early 1980s.
  • Alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion each year – £900 for every adult.
  • Scotland’s problem is significantly worse than the rest of the UK. In 2016, 17% more alcohol was sold per adult in Scotland than in England & Wales.

Price

  • Affordability drives increased consumption – alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable in the UK than it was in 1980
  • Weekly lower-risk drinking guidelines of 14 units can be bought for £2.52 – 18 pence a unit.
  • 51% of alcohol sold in off-trade is less than 50 pence per unit.

Modelling from Sheffield University shows a minimum unit price of 50 pence is estimated to result in:

  • 121 fewer deaths per annum by year 20 of the policy; and
  • A fall in hospital admissions of just over 2,000 per annum by year 20 of the policy

A preferred 50 pence per unit would mean:

  • A three litre bottle of strong cider at 7.5% ABV strength would cost £11.25.
  • Four 440ml cans of five per cent strength lager would cost at least £4.40.
  • A bottle of wine of 12% alcohol strength would cost at least £4.50.
  • A 70cl bottle of whisky could not be sold for less than £14.

The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012

 

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