The Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has announced a 50 pence per unit target minimum through the Minimum Pricing Scotland Bill. See BBC and Telegraph reports and a Guardian Data blog interactive graphic on its impact.
Announcing the decision, Nicola Sturgeon said:
"Too many Scots are drinking themselves to death. The problem affects people of all walks of life. It’s 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... Introducing a minimum price per unit will enable us to tackle these problems, given the clear link between affordability and consumption."
The Scottish government were recently reported to have agreed to a "sunset clause" in the planned legislation, under a deal to win Conservative support. Minimum pricing will be ditched after six years if it fails to have an impact, which Sturgeon deemed "a perfectly reasonable and legitimate position to take."
The SNP's previous attempt at a 45 pence minimum price in 2010 was blocked by opposition parties when the SNP had a smaller majority. The Health Secretary defended the 50 pence unit price stating the price was equivalent to the 2010 aim of 45p after taking account of 5% annual inflation.
In England David Cameron recently confirmed plans for minimum pricing in the new Government Alcohol Strategy. The price is yet to be set though and is unlikely to come in until 2015. Recently a Channel 4 factcheck blog was published on the supposed legal risks of Cameron's minimum pricing plans, although its legality may only be possible to test once implemented.