On average, twenty-two people die every week in Scotland because of alcohol. In our poorest communities, the alcohol related death rate is almost six times higher than in the most affluent communities. To create a fairer healthier Scotland, we need to reduce the harm from alcohol. We know that the price of alcohol influences how much we drink and the more we drink, the more harm we experience. Increasing the price of alcohol reduces harm. In 2012, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation to introduce a minimum price for a unit of alcohol below which it cannot be sold in licensed premises in Scotland. MUP is intended to benefit those at most risk of harm, by targeting high-strength low-cost alcohol. No other country has tried this for all alcohol before, so it’s important to evaluate the impact it has in Scotland. NHS Health Scotland has been asked to do this.
Clare Beeston, Lead for the Evaluation at NHS Health Scotland, said:
“Our goal is to improve health and reduce health inequalities by gathering and promoting the evidence of what works. That is why we are pleased to be leading the evaluation of MUP. We want to fully understand the impact it has, not just on health, but on many other things, so that when it is up for review, Parliament, will be able to take an informed view on whether it should continue, or not.
“With a Governance Board, we will lead the independent evaluation. The evaluation will look at a lot of things, including: the impact of MUP on health, drinking behaviours, crime, sales, those drinking at harmful levels, children and young people, small and large retailers and producers of alcohol.
“Alcohol ruins too many lives in Scotland and we look forward to understanding whether MUP can make a difference.”
For more information on MUP and the evaluation, visit our web pages on MUP.