Scottish government wants 50p minimum price

The Scottish government has set its preferred minimum unit price for alcohol at 50p.

Health minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figure was in line with the preferred level of 45p it had stated in 2010, taking into account inflation since then.

Scottish government figures reveal that the move would increase a four-pack of 44cl cans of Tesco Strong Dry Cider from £1.80 to £4.67, based on retail prices at March 2 this year.

A bottle of vodka at 37.5% abv will be £13.13, adding £4.41 to a bottle of Tesco Value Vodka.

Brands such as Vladivar, Gordon’s, Famous Grouse and Bell’s would not be affected, based on March 2 retail prices quoted in a government statement.

Sturgeon said: “Since 45p was first proposed as the minimum price 18 months ago, we have seen inflation of around 5%.

“Minimum price of 50p takes this into account and will achieve a similar level of public health benefits to what 45p would have achieved in 2010.”

Sturgeon said University of Sheffield studies showed the 50p level would lead to 60 fewer deaths a year, 1,600 fewer hopsital admissions and a reduction in crime numbers of 3,500.

Gavin Partington, interim chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said: “Hard-pressed consumers in Scotland can now see the true impact of the Scottish government’s policy. 

“A minimum unit price of 50p will punish the majority of responsible consumers with higher prices, hitting the poorest hardest and will do nothing to tackle the root causes of alcohol misuse.

“The government’s own report shows that 73% of all alcohol prices in the off-trade would rise overnight as a result of a 50p minimum unit price. 

“Rather than penalising the responsible majority, we believe that alcohol policy should be targeted at problem drinkers.”