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Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP)


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Another step closer and likely to be in place sometime during 2013.

Will it change your drinking habits ?

Not going to make any difference to the on trade, but off licence pricing on cider, vodka and wine all likely to be affected.




The Scottish government has confirmed that it wants to set a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit.


The figure - 5p higher than the one which had been proposed in the previous parliament - comes as a 40p price is planned for England and Wales.


The Scottish Nationalists hope the measure will reduce the health problems caused by excessive drinking.


Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement during a visit to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.


It is hoped the move - which would make the ­cheapest bottle of wine £4.69, while a four-pack of lager would cost at least £3.52 - will lead to a reduction in hospital admissions and deaths through alcohol abuse.


Ms Sturgeon said: "Too many Scots are drinking themselves to death. The problem affects people of all walks of life.


It is no coincidence that as affordability has increased, alcohol-related hospital admissions have quadrupled, and it is shocking that half of our prisoners now say they were drunk when they committed the offence. It's time for this to stop.


"Introducing a minimum price per unit will enable us to tackle these problems, given the clear link between affordability and consumption.


"There is now a groundswell of support for the policy across the medical profession, police forces, alcohol charities and from significant parts of the drinks and licensed trade industry who recognise the benefits minimum pricing can bring - saving lives and reducing crime."


Sheffield University's alcohol research group was commissioned by the Scottish government to examine the impact of the policy.


Dr John Holmes, who was part of the project team, told BBC Radio Scotland the move would have a significant impact on drinking habits.


He said: "We found that a 50p minimum price would lead to an overall reduction in consumption of 5.5%. So harmful drinkers' consumption would fall by more than 10%, whereas moderate drinkers would see their consumption fall by just 2.5%.


"In terms of how much extra spending that would mean, harmful drinkers would have to spend over £120 extra a year on their alcohol, whereas moderate drinkers would spend just £8 a year more."



The Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill is making its second passage through parliament after defeat in 2010 when the SNP was in a minority administration.


It passed through parliament without opposition in March.


Ms Sturgeon promised to announce what the minimum price per unit would be before Holyrood's final vote on the legislation later in this parliament.


The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats supported the legislation, while Labour abstained.


The law will be ditched after six years if the policy does not work after a "sunset clause" was inserted as part of a deal to secure Conservative support for the SNP proposals.


Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie welcomed the price move.


He said: "A higher than expected price should have an even more significant impact on alcohol misuse that blights lives, communities and families. The SNP can count on the support of the Liberal Democrats for minimum pricing."


The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) also welcomed the Scottish government's announcement.


Its chief executive Paul Waterson said: "The whole issue of introducing retail price controls for the sale of alcohol is a brave step by the Scottish government and one that the SLTA supports and has campaigned for since the 1970s, when retail price maintenance was abolished.


"The 50p per unit minimum price is an appropriate starting point which is fair and 'proportionate' to help combat the low cost sales of alcohol we see around us every day, which contribute to the abuse of alcohol problems within Scotland."


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Shite money making ploy. This will solve absolutely no problems with binge drinking whatsoever.


It's not a tax. The only people making extra money out of this are the supermarkets and the booze companys.


My problem with it is that the rich can carry on drinking their £30 bottles of wine and their Grey Goose vodka at the same price while for people like me the price for tesco value gin doubles. Fucking annoying.


Also this whole culture of banning things that are bad for you isn't good. We are slowly creeping into a 1984 type world. If the NHS was paid for by individuals via a personal insurance then all would be fine. The government would have no need to ban or tax unhealthy products as ones own personal health insurance would rise with smoking, eating unhealthy food,  and drinking more heavily.

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It's not a tax. The only people making extra money out of this are the supermarkets and the booze companys.


My problem with it is that the rich can carry on drinking their £30 bottles of wine and their Grey Goose vodka at the same price while for people like me the price for tesco value gin doubles. Fucking annoying.



I'm aware of this.

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It's not a tax. The only people making extra money out of this are the supermarkets and the booze companys


Trust me when I say that booze companies as you refer to them, will not make money out of this. The supermarkets however are an entirely seperate issue.


Your point regarding the likes of Grey Goose vodka is a very valid one and highlights the flaw here in that this regulation doesn't in any shape or form address those with cash who abuse alcohol of a higher value.

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Make no mistake. The problem is not binge drinking per se. It is the folk with grinding large daily alcohol intakes that this is trying to affect. This country has a MASSIVE problem with long term alcohol abuse. I know. I see and deal with the consequences on a daily basis. It costs Scotland itself £3.5 billion a year. We can't afford to ignore this and say "well we've always done this".


I actually see it as negligent for a Government to not try and do something about it.

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It's worth a go.

The evidence is that it has worked to an extent in Canada but I think their minimum unit price was a bit higher, and raised a number of times.  It reduced A&E attendances and alcohol related illness, which is ultimately the aim.  Will it change the culture of booze in this country? Probably not but it'll be a start.  It won't really effect binge drinkers but will have a more significant impact on underage drinkers and daily drinkers. 

I agree it's not exactly ideal that the Supermarkets will get vast profits from this but the Scottish Government are hamstrung by the limited powers they have in this area.  The Westminster Govt are considering a similar scheme presumably related to the tax on alcohol but are going for a much lower 40p unit price which will have a far smaller effect.  Labour's opposition to this seems a bit disingenuous an opposition for opposition sake (again).


We have dramatically changed attitudes to smoking in the past 10 years with legislative change and in the Govt would be negligent if they didn't at least try something to tackle alcohol abuse. There won't be a magic bullet but it may help in making a small change. Now lets see them do something about what will be the biggest public health issue in the next 20 years - obesity.

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Pal of mine was telling me about a report she read on alcohol consumption compared to sunlight received.  Apparently there is a direct correlation because drinking causes the same chemicals to be released in the brain as exposure to the sun does. Hence in countries of limited sunlight people drink more.


I'm not claiming this as fact, just something my pal told me though she's smart and not prone to bulshitting which is why i mention it.

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So sitting back and watching alcoholicss bleed our NHS and society dry is the forward?


There HAS to be a sledgehammer in the short term. Every day in our hospitals, someone dies because they have drank themselved to death.

Education is the key, but unfortunately that takes time.


Don't put words in my mouth.


I asked what the plan actually was. As you'd have read.


But it isn't simply "alcoholics" that are the problem. Certainly not the "Phil Mitchell" archetype.


Just feels that this is simply a marquee policy that probably diverts attention from 2 things, they are cutting budgets from services that already do help and that there is no long term strategy.


It is a fact that it affects the poor most too.

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Pile of pish if you ask me and a stealth tax on the poor (and yes it is a tax as the supermarkets pay tax on their extra profit )

What is next minimum pricing on food to stop the binge eating obese amongst us.


Do you think that the market for cheap drink is inelastic and large enough to make enough of an impression of taxation for all this to be worth it?



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I think the comparison to smoking can be made here, 60 years ago everybody thought smoking was not just fine, but actively encouraged as a healthy, sociably acceptable  activity.




So, whats changed in the time these adverts were kicking about?


research and education, along with the tax on tobacco going through the roof. Not banning the activity per se. 


Was there much public opposition to the smoking ban in public places?  Actually for once, I thought there was a reasonablly decent discussion prior to the legislation being implimented.Peoples perceptions have changed massively over the years with regard to smoking and the affects, both primary and secondary.  And that is the point about the culture of drinking. Ok, it wont happen overnight, but to Scotland, the health affects to the general population are as harmful as smoking, therefore the Government is forced to try and do something about it.


If it is a tax, then it is a properly progressive tax as those who abuse the substance most (and arguably end up reaping the benefits of out NHS and other services) actually end up paying the most. Read this carefully. This brings, cheap, high strength alcohol in line with the rest.


In the main, the people with alcohol problems I encounter dont nip out to Tesco and stock up with good quality bottles of single malts or the finest Russian vodka. No, they drink the  2 Litre, £2 bottles of shitty cider or the £7 bottles of vodka. If you are going out on A Saturday night and having the occasional sociable skinful, or buying a cheeky nice malt for a wee treat at home, the chances are you wont notice a price difference.

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Is there not coinciding legislation for this also.


Look. Its not people who have a drink now and then and have the occasional blow out at christmas.


It is the people who drink on a DAILY basis. These are the people who rely on exactly the cheap crap that this legislation is targeting. These are the peopke who end up with regular hospital admissions for acute alcohol related problems and longer term health and social problems that costs us all

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