Alcohol sales drop in Scotland thanks to pricing policy 

The volume of alcohol sold per adult in Scotland in 2018 has fallen to its lowest level since 1994.

The first expert analysis of data, just over a year since Scotland became the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP), showed a 3% fall in alcohol sales per adult in Scotland from the previous year.

Results of the NHS Health Scotland Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme found that the volume of alcohol sold per adult in Scotland (9.9 litres) was 9% higher than in England and Wales, where 9.1 litres was sold per adult.

Since 2010 the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult through supermarkets and off-licences has fallen by 9% in Scotland while it has risen by 3% in England & Wales overall.

“With the implementation of minimum unit pricing in May 2018 we’ve seen a substantial fall in the volume of alcohol being sold at very low prices, along with the biggest rise in the average price of alcohol sold through supermarkets and off-licences in a decade,” explained Lucie Giles, public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland.

From the data in this report it’s not possible to quantify the full contribution of MUP on alcohol prices and sales, but these are encouraging early indicators,” she added.

On May 1st 2018 Scotland brought into force legislation setting a minimum 50p per unit price to tackle the harm caused by cheap, high strength alcohol.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the findings represent a “promising start”.

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