Scotland has legislation mandating a minimum price per unit of alcohol. Some people are unhappy about the upcoming rate increase in May.
A minimum price for alcohol per unit was introduced in Scotland in 2018. The government is now considering raising the rate to further reduce the availability of alcoholic drinks.
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Scotland to raise alcohol prices from May
Ministers in Edinburgh are expected to confirm that the minimum price of a unit of alcohol will rise from 50 pence to 65 pence from the beginning of May, The Guardian reports. The minimum price of a standard bottle of whisky will increase from £14 to £18.20, a bottle of vodka to £16.90 and a four-pack of basic beer to £4.58.
Six years ago, Scotland implemented a policy of minimum alcohol pricing, becoming the first constituent country of the UK to do so. However, despite this policy, the number of alcohol-related deaths in the country has increased by 25% over the last three years. According to estimates from Public Health Scotland, the figure would have been 13.5% higher if it weren't for the minimum alcohol pricing legislation.
Willie Rennie, former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and now the party's economy spokesperson, is pleased with the decision to raise the price. "More than 20 people a week in Scotland die due to alcohol misuse, so we need to take steps to stop alcohol wrecking lives and communities," he said.
Not everyone is happy with the price increase
The Scottish Wine and Spirit Trade Association is lobbying against a minimum price per unit of alcohol. They plan to call for the complete abolition of minimum pricing, arguing that it is an ineffective and unfair way of tackling alcohol abuse. Opponents of the policy also cite the cost-of-living crisis in the UK as a reason to abolish minimum pricing.
The Scotch Whisky Association has already challenged the Scottish policy in court. However, in 2017, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the current legislation was a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim" and complied with EU law.
Source: The Guardian