The alcohol problem in Scotland is so significant that ground breaking measures are required.
Given the link between consumption and harm and evidence that affordability is one of the drivers of increased consumption, addressing price is an important element of any long-term strategy.
Alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable in the UK than it was in 1980. It is possible in Scotland today to exceed the new lower risk guidelines for alcohol (14 units per week) for around £2.50. This is an unacceptable position and we have a responsibility to address this problem.
There is strong international evidence that tackling price – as part of a package of measures, including education and diversion – can help reduce alcohol consumption and related harm.
The Scottish Parliament passed legislation in 2012, the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012, which allows the Scottish Ministers to introduce a system of Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol. The legislation was then challenged in court by some parts of the alcohol industry and that has delayed the implementation of this important policy. On 15 November 2017, the UK Supreme Court confirmed that the legislation which allows Minimum Unit Pricing to be introduced is lawful. The judgment can be found on the following link