Minimum pricing on alcohol would "save hundreds of lives"

29 September 2009 by
Minimum pricing on alcohol would "save hundreds of lives"

Enforcing minimum pricing on alcohol and banning promotions would save hundreds of lives every year, according to research conducted by Sheffield University for the Scottish Government.

A minimum price of 40p per unit of alcohol would cut alcohol-related deaths by 20% and reduce the prevalence of illnesses and crimes leading to massive savings for tax payers, the report found.

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said excessive alcohol consumption is "one of the biggest threats to Scottish public health".

"It's also clear that excessive drinking is bad for the economy and bad for industry - with many thousands of workdays lost each year through absenteeism. To bring about a real, lasting culture change we've got to be bolder. That's why the Scottish Government is bringing forward a radical package of measures in our Alcohol Bill," she said.

But the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) said that if the Scottish Government chooses to proceed with minimum pricing it would need to demonstrate compliance with UK and European law.

"The Scottish government will still have to demonstrate that any proposals it comes up with will comply with UK and European law and that is the critical issue," he said.

Earlier this month the Office of Fair Trading argued that introducing minimum pricing would damage competition.

"Setting minimum prices for anything leads to additional profits for businesses alongside a reduction in efficiency and competition. If you want to raise prices to achieve a social good, this should be done by taxation rather than removing suppliers' ability to set prices independently," said an OFT spokesman.

OFT opposes setting a minimum price on alcohol >>

All-you-can-drink offers to be banned >>

Government rules out minimum pricing for alcohol >>

By Emma White

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