Minimum Unit Pricing Studies

In January 2020, NHS Health Scotland published two further studies as part of the evaluation of the Scottish government's Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) policy which was introduced just over a year ago. The first analysis was made on the off-trade alcohol sales in the first year after MUP and this has shown that the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland fell by 3.6%. Compared to the 12 months before implementation of MUP, the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in the off-trade in Scotland decreased from 7.4 litres to the lower figure of 7.1 litres.

By comparison, in England and Wales where MUP has not been implemented, the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in the off-trade increased from 6.3 litres to 6.5 litres over the exact same period of time.

John Hamilton, chairman at FASS (Fife Alcohol Support Service) commented that the reduction in alcohol consumption “Was welcome news for the overall health of the people of Scotland, especially when compared to the figures for England and Wales.”

The second analysis looked at under 18-year old drinkers after MUP, and this study found that for under-18s the price of alcohol was not seen as an important factor in their drinking behaviour, and overall, they did not report changing what they drank, how much they drank or how they obtained their alcohol in response to the increase in price alone. This study was designed to help understand the day-to-day experiences of the young people who took part, without necessarily being totally representative of the impact of MUP on all young people in Scotland.

“This second part is more concerning” said John Hamilton “and the apparent ease with which these young people are able to acquire alcohol, and the fact that the MUP has not really made any change to their drinking habits, shows that there are adults who are regularly providing under-18s with drink despite all the potential harmful effects on young people's wider mental and physical health.”

If you have any such problems with alcohol, then contact FASS for help on 01592-206200 – it can really make a huge difference!