Scotland Times

Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

Minimum alcohol price ‘causes poorest to cut back on food’ in Scotland

Minimum alcohol price ‘causes poorest to cut back on food’ in Scotland

Some problem drinkers also reducing heating to afford rising alcohol costs, according to Public Health Scotland
Scotland’s minimum alcohol pricing policy has not encouraged problem drinkers to consume less but has prompted some to cut back on food or heating in order to afford rising costs, according to the first evaluation of its impact on those who drink alcohol at harmful levels.

The Scottish National party’s flagship policy, championed by Nicola Sturgeon when she was health minister and introduced after successive court challenges by the Scotch Whisky Association, came into force in May 2018. It introduced a legally enforced minimum price for all alcoholic drinks of 50p a unit and aimed to tackle chronic alcohol abuse by targeting low-cost, high-strength drinks.

But the latest evaluation of minimum unit pricing (MUP), published on Tuesday by Public Health Scotland, found those who suffer the worst affects of alcoholism did not change their habits after the policy was introduced, with the poorest among them experiencing “increased financial strain” as price rises meant they were spending more on drink, causing them to cut back on other expenditure such as food and utility bills.

The study by the University of Sheffield, the University of Newcastle in Australia and Figure 8 Consultancy Services, focused on the “hard to reach” population of people who drink alcohol at harmful levels, including those dependent on alcohol and those accessing treatment services.

But it also found little evidence of other negative consequences such as increased crime or a shift to illegal drug use. It also discovered that people with alcohol dependence had a limited awareness and understanding of minimum unit pricing as a policy and had received little information about it before its introduction.

Laura Mahon, the deputy chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said the study gave “much-needed information about the additional support required by the groups included in the research. We need real investment in recovery-oriented alcohol services to ensure people get the right support when they need it, wherever they live.”

She added: “At a population level MUP appears to be having positive benefits. We’ve seen a sustained decrease in how much we are drinking overall since the policy was implemented. Alongside this there have been encouraging reductions in hospital admissions from alcohol-related liver conditions and an initial 10% fewer alcohol-related deaths in 2019.”

Previous evaluations have found the policy had an impact on sales: a year after its introduction, in June 2019, figures showed alcohol sales had fallen to their lowest level in 25 years. A similar policy was introduced in Wales in 2020.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Scotland Times
0:00
0:00
Close
UK Island Orkney council to look at proposals to become territory of Norway
Woman Awarded Over £100,000 After Being Fired for Transgender Tweet
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
A Real woman
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Democracy? Not for UK. UK PM rejects Scottish independence referendum, cancel democracy in BVI
UK urged to brace for economic storm
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Prince William To Move Family Into Cottage Near Queen Elizabeth II
BOOOOOOS: Tony Blair receives royal honour
Captured Britons sentenced to death in Ukraine
Barbados PM Mia A. Mottley among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
Today's headlines
"Just One Of the Boys In School:" Years That Shaped Prince Charles
BVI Premier Rubbishes Claim Of Causing COI Delay
Comments on "Human Intelligence in a Digital Age" - A brilliant Speech by MI6 Chief Richard Moore, and the elephants neglected in the room
Bitcoin: BoE Deputy Gov wants to cancel democracy and protect the banks with regulations which infringe on people’s freedom, independence and benefits they get from their own money.
What are the Pandora Papers?
Taiwan-China relations at their 'worst in 40 years'
The attempt to hold Epik.com accountable for the content of its clients' websites is like blaming Gutenberg for the NYT's fake news that dragged the US into the pointless war against the nuclear weapons Iraq never had
×