THE minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland is set to increase following a vote in the Scottish Parliament.

As part of a “sunset clause” in the original legislation, which was introduced in 2018, MUP was due to end on April 30.

However, following a vote in Holyrood MSPs agreed to continue on with the policy and raise the minimum price per unit of alcohol by 15 pence.

It is hoped the price increase will counteract the effects of inflation, which risen sharply since the legislation was originally introduced.

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The increase will take effect on 30 September 2024.

Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Christina McKelvie said: “I’m pleased that Parliament has agreed to continue MUP legislation and to raise the level it is set at.

“Research commended by internationally-renowned public health experts estimated that our world-leading policy has saved hundreds of lives, likely averted hundreds of alcohol-attributable hospital admissions and contributed to reducing health inequalities.

“Despite this progress, deaths caused specifically by alcohol rose last year – and my sympathy goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. However, as a letter to The Lancet by public health experts makes clear, it is likely that without MUP there would have been an even greater number of alcohol-specific deaths.

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“As we have made clear, the policy aims to reduce alcohol-related harm by reducing consumption at population level, with a particular focus on targeting people who drink at hazardous and harmful levels.

“We believe the proposals strike a reasonable balance between public health benefits and any effects on the alcoholic drinks market and impact on consumers. Evidence suggests there has not been a significant impact on business and industry as a whole but we will continue to monitor this.”

Campaigners at Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomed the vote, with CEO Alison Douglas saying: “Well done Holyrood. You have chosen to stand up for people’s right to health despite the best efforts of Big Alcohol once again to derail this policy.”

She added: “Uprating of the minimum unit price to 65p per unit will save hundreds of lives and reduce demand on our NHS.

“This will improve the lives not just of people who drink but those around them, whose health and wellbeing can be affected.

“Crucially it will reduce the likelihood that future generations will develop alcohol problems.”