Call to raise minimum price for alcohol to 60p per unit

Minimum pricing for alcohol should be raised to 60p per unit in Scotland, the Liberal Democrats have suggested.

Following the publication of ISD Scotland figures indicating that there were nearly 100-alcohol-related hospital admissions per day during 2017/18, the party described the country’s relationship with alcohol as “shameful”.

Over that period, there were 35,499 alcohol-related hospital admissions in general acute hospitals.

A minimum unit price of 50p was set by the Scottish Government in May last year in a move to tackle the issue.

In 2017, the UK Supreme Court finally ruled that Scotland could set a minimum price for alcohol, with the legislation having been initially approved by the Scottish Parliament in 2012.

The move had faced legal challenges although cleared them when judges ruled that the legislation did not breach European Union law.

A 10 point plan has been published by the Liberal Democrats in a bid to tackle drug and alcohol misuse.

Under the proposals, the minimum unit price of alcohol would be raised, with protections placed on the budgets of alcohol and drug partnerships.

The plan also includes a suggestion to send people caught in possession of drugs for personal use for treatment and education rather than prison.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton urged Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to take action on the problem of excessive drinking.

“Scotland’s relationship with alcohol is shameful,” said Mr Cole-Hamilton.

“With tens of thousands of people being hospitalised, health professionals are run off their feet.

“Depleted local facilities are still in recovery from the Scottish Government’s brutal cuts to alcohol and drug partnerships.

“We’ve set out a clear, practical plan of how to turn this around, including protecting partnership budgets and increasing the minimum unit price. The Health Secretary must act now, before it’s too late for many more.”

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