RSPH has welcomed the minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol that has come into force in Scotland. The legislation, first passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, will ensure that alcohol north of the border can no longer be sold for less than 50p a unit.
The measure will raise the price of the cheapest and most harmful alcohol but leave pub prices and the majority of moderate drinkers untouched. Studies have suggested that MUP is one of the most effective policy measures available to reduce alcohol-related health harm, which costs the NHS around £3.5 billion every year.
RSPH, alongside many other health bodies and the Alcohol Health Alliance, is now urging Westminster to introduce MUP in England, where it is predicted that it could save 1,148 lives and prevent 74,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions in the first five years alone.
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, said: “When it comes to reducing alcohol harm, minimum unit pricing is one of the most potent tools we have at our disposal, with numerous studies and international evidence suggesting it can significantly reduce deaths and other health harms. We are delighted to see the Scottish Government leading the way with such progressive and responsible public health policy, and to see the other devolved national administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland progressing their own plans for MUP. We hope that the Westminster government will now look to the success of such policies and not leave people in England at a greater risk of harm from irresponsibly cheap, super-strength alcohol.”