On 31 October 2011, the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

The Bill looks to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as a condition of license in Scotland. It also sets the formula for calculating the minimum price (based on the strength of the alcohol, the volume of the alcohol and a price per unit of alcohol).

A specific minimum price per unit of alcohol will be announced during the Bill process, but firstly the University of Sheffield are rerunning their minimum price modelling to reflect the most up to date data.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol is one of the most pressing public health challenges facing us as a nation and we need to take action to tackle it. Here we have a second opportunity to add the missing piece in the legislative jigsaw – introducing minimum pricing. I urge my parliamentary colleagues to take it.

“By setting a minimum price for a unit of alcohol, we can raise the price of the cheap supermarket white ciders, lager and value spirits sought out by problem drinkers.

“I hope that this time around MSPs will do the right thing and back this policy that has the support of doctors, nurses, the police and growing numbers of the general population. I will not shirk from leading the way in addressing this challenge. It is time for Scotland to win its battle with the booze.”

The cost of alcohol consumption in Scotland is estimated to cost £3.56 billion each year, £900 for every adult.

A 45p per unit minimum price, which was proposed in the last Parliament, was estimated to result in the following benefits:

  • Reduction in deaths, in year 1, by 50
  • Reduction in deaths per year, by year 10, by 225
  • Fewer hospital admissions in year 1, by 1,200
  • Fewer hospital admissions per year, by year 10, by 4,200
  • Fewer cases of violent crime by 400 per year
  • Fewer days absent from work by 22,900
  • Fewer numbers unemployed by 1,200

The total value of harm reduction for health, crime and employment in year one is £52 million and £721 million over 10 years. (Figures taken from University of Sheffield modelling for Scotland, updated and published in April 2010.)

The University of Sheffield is currently re-running the model with the most up to date data, including the Scottish Health Survey 2010 data which was published on September 27, 2011.

To see the Bill and supplementary documents click here