SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, Stuart McMillan, has welcomed the news that alcohol sales in Scotland dropped by 3% last year, which coincide with the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP), according to a new report by NHS Health Scotland.
The MESAS Monitoring Report 2019, which records sales in volume of pure alcohol, showed the equivalent of 9.9 litres of pure alcohol per adult or an average of 19 units per adult per week was purchased in 2018. This is a 3% drop on the 2017 figure.
World-first MUP was introduced in Scotland at 50p per unit to specifically target cheap alcohol like white ciders and alcopops that cause the most harm, while high-end drinks have mostly remained a similar price.
Commenting, Stuart said:
“I’m pleased that alcohol sales in Scotland have fallen to their lowest since records began in the 1990s. It is too early to assess the effectiveness of MUP, but these early signs are encouraging.
“While Scots still buy more alcohol than in England and Wales – and more than the recommended weekly intake – the gap has narrowed to its lowest difference since 2003.
“MUP is only one measure the Scottish Government is implementing to address Scotland’s harmful relationship with alcohol, but these figures show that MUP over time will have a positive effect and hopefully result in a decrease in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland.
“Considering MUP was only implemented in April last year, I am confident that we will continue to see alcohol consumption decrease in Scotland. Reaching the lowest level since 1994 in effectively eight months is a clear indicator that this policy is working.”