Two new analysis relating to alcohol pricing effects have been published as a decision on Scotland's Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is anticipated within a matter of months. A provisional timetable indicates the Inner House of the Scottish Court of Session could rule to implement MUP by the 8th June 2016.
Further Sheffield analysis on pricing and taxation effects
An updated analysis of the modelled impacts of MUP in Scotland has been produced by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group (SARG), including modelled effects of tax increases - full report here [pdf]. Commissioned by the Scottish Government, it says to achieve an equivalent reduction in alcohol-related deaths amongst hazardous and harmful drinkers as a 50 pence MUP, a 28% increase in alcohol taxation would be required.
More lower strength drinks options are needed to tackle drink-related health problems, according to the Local Government Association (LGA). The LGA is urging the drinks industry to produce more drinks with fewer or zero units of alcohol and wants government to support this by extending current tax breaks on such drinks. BBC and LGA release.
Alcohol Concern Cymru have released a new report highlighting the widespread availability of cheap alcohol in Wales and reiterated calls for minimum unit pricing (MUP).
The report highlights findings from a snapshot survey of supermarkets and off-licences in six towns and cities across Wales, which found alcohol on sale for 15.5p per unit in one area. Alcohol Concern say that the recommended weekly guidelines of 14 units per week could therefore be purchased for little more than £2 in Rhyl, where a 3 litre bottle of Frosty Jack’s cider (22.5 units) was on sale for £3.50.
Last month the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave its ruling on Scotland's minimum unit pricing (MUP) case, largely confirming the preceding opinion of the Advocate General. The ECJ have ruled that it will be for the Scottish Inner House of the Court of Session to rule on MUP, but can only decide in favour if 'proportionality' can be proved; crucially that the aims of MUP cannot be better achieved by taxation rises.
The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) have released a report 'slamming' the controversial Public Health Responsibility Deal, suggesting it has “worsened the health of the nation”. However with no word from the Government on its future and no indications of a new national strategy, the existence of any clear national alcohol policy in England looks uncertain.
Eliminating cheap alcohol by setting a high minimum price per unit promises the greatest feasible health gains per alcohol policy £, but also risks the greatest political backlash. So much is at stake for opposing interests that evidence is disputed and the politics have swung under pressure from lobbyists and competing philosophies. This Effectiveness Bank hot topic delves in to the fire. Click button to read more.
The Scottish government has been praised by the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance for its "political courage" in attempting to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol - BBC News. 'We drink for a good time AND when we're having a sh*t time': SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon says alcohol is 'ever present' in Scottish people's lives - Daily Mail