Sunderland academic shares views on minimum alcohol pricing

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We have a real problem with our relationship with alcohol in Scotland, she told Sky News.

He said: "Minimum Unit Pricing has been a very complex and costly measure to introduce".

Since the change announcement was made for Scotland, Balance North East has been among the organisations calling for better control on the availability for cheap alcohol - and Mr Mooney has said there is a lot of work already being undertaken across the region.

Health campaigners argue when the price of alcohol goes down, consumption of alcohol goes up.

The 50p minimum unit price means that a bottle of 40% whisky can not be sold for less than £14, while a bottle of 37.5% vodka can not be sold for less than £13.13. They say that, given the link between consumption and harm and evidence that affordability is one of the drivers of increased consumption, addressing price is an important element of any long-term strategy.

According to Scotland's Health Secretary Shona Robison, alcohol misuse costs Scotland 3.6 billion pounds ($5 billion) each year and Scotland has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the UK.

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"It is vital therefore that the impact of on businesses and on consumers of the MUP experiment in Scotland is rigorously and objectively monitored and evaluated over time".

Ministers say it means less money will have to be spent dealing with the consequences of alcohol misuse.

It comes six years after the Scottish Government passed the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012, after a growing number of alcohol-related deaths.

In terms of introducing a similar move in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), said: "When it comes to reducing alcohol harm, minimum unit pricing is one of the most potent tools we have at our disposal, with numerous studies and worldwide evidence suggesting it can significantly reduce deaths and other health harms". The policy was ultimately cleared by the UK Supreme Court in November 2017.

- What are the arguments against MUP? It believes the measure contravenes European Union trading rules.

The Scottish government claims minimum pricing will save 58 lives in its first year and reduce hospital admissions by 1,300. Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: "As a nation we drink 40 per cent more than the low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week for men and women". In addition, existing laws on under-age sales and sales to drunk people are not fully and effectively applied at the moment, it argues.

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