Scotland raises minimum alcohol price to 65p to tackle surge in alcohol deaths

Posted on: 8th February 2024

The British Liver Trust welcomes today’s news from the Scottish Government announcing plans to increase the Minimum Unit Price for alcohol to 65 pence.

Responding to the announcement, British Liver Trust Chief Executive, Pamela Healy OBE, said: “The introduction of minimum unit pricing has already demonstrated its effectiveness in tackling alcohol-related harm in Scotland, saving hundreds of lives., The planned increase in minimum unit price of alcohol is a critical lever to further reduce avoidable deaths and hospital admissions caused by alcohol.

"With deaths due to chronic liver disease in Scotland increasing by 85% over the last 3 decades – the majority caused by alcohol – urgent action is needed to redouble prevention efforts.

"We urge Members of the Scottish Parliament across the political spectrum to voice their support for our most disadvantaged communities at the sharp end of the alcohol harm crisis in Scotland by voting through the MUP uprating legislation in April.”

More than 90% of liver disease cases are preventable, with the leading causes being excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and viral hepatitis. Reducing alcohol-related harm is a step forward in safeguarding public health and addressing the silent killer that is alcohol-related liver disease.

Evidence demonstrates that fiscal measures are the most effective tools to tackle alcohol harm and reduce inequalities. Since MUP was introduced, it is estimated to have saved 156 lives and averted 411 hospital admissions per year, while reducing consumption by 3 per cent. Public Health Scotland's final evaluation report on MUP – published in July 2023 – estimates that MUP has reduced alcohol deaths by 13.4 per cent and hospital admissions caused by alcohol by 4.1 per cent.

However, the long term effectiveness of MUP is at risk of being undermined without action to adjust for rising inflation. The Scottish Government have proposed innovative action to increase MUP by 30 per cent in order to maintain and increase the public health benefits by driving down consumption of people drinking at higher levels and reducing alcohol-related health inequalities.