Minimum 50p alcohol price sought

AlcoholThe Scottish Government has announced it wants to set a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.
The measure is predicted to save 500 lives a year, and will see the price of a standard bottle of wine at 12.5% volume set at a minimum of £4.69.
A 70cl bottle of whisky at 40% will cost no less than £14, while a similar sized bottle of vodka at 37.5% will be no less than £13.13. A bottle of strong cider at 5.3% will cost no less than £4.67.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement during a visit to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

She said: "Cheap alcohol comes at a price and now is the time to tackle the toll that Scotland's unhealthy relationship with alcohol is taking on our society. Too many Scots are drinking themselves to death."

The Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill is making its second passage through the Scottish Parliament after defeat in 2010 when the SNP was in a minority administration.

Earlier this month, MSPs agreed to a "sunset clause" meaning the law could be scrapped in six years if the policy does not work.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Since 45p was first proposed as the minimum price 18 months ago, we have seen inflation of around 5%. A minimum price of 50p takes this into account and will achieve a similar level of public health benefits to what 45p would have achieved in 2010."

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said: "Despite efforts to encourage responsible retailing by supermarkets, they continue to sell high-alcohol products such as vodka and ciders at ridiculously cheap prices to entice customers to their store.

"The trend for cheap alcohol and excessive consumption has a human cost. Alcohol-related illness causes one death every three hours in Scotland and the total healthcare costs are more than £268 million. A minimum price, as part of a wider strategy, could end Scotland's heavy-drinking culture and I am proud that Scotland's politicians are once again leading the world on public health policy."

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