Pressure builds to make MUP UK-wide

England and Wales should introduce MUP (minimum unit pricing) for alcohol if the measure succeeds in Scotland, according to a Lords report.

The report, produced by the Lords committee on the Licensing Act 2003, recommends that the policy be extended UK-wide, should attempts to introduce minimum pricing be deemed lawful in Scotland.

It said: ‘Assuming that minimum unit pricing is brought into force in Scotland, we recommend that once Scottish ministers have published their statutory assessment of the working of MUP, if that assessment demonstrates that the policy is successful, MUP should be introduced in England and Wales.’

The report further recommends that the introduction of an MUP would be best achieved through specific legislation rather than through existing licensing regulations, as has been proposed in Scotland.

It also urges ministers to examine additional ways to control excessive consumption of alcohol through measures such as taxation.

Attempts to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit have been ongoing in Scotland for a number of years, with the Scottish Parliament approving the plans back in 2012.

A legal appeal by the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) that the proposed pricing was contrary to EU law was rejected by the European Court of Justice.

Following a ruling by the Court of Session in Edinburgh rejecting the challenge to the proposed legislation, the SWA has now taken its appeal to the Supreme Court.

The BMA, along with a number of other health organisations, has consistently backed the introduction of MUP on the grounds that doing so will help to alleviate the health impact faced by heavy drinkers and young people.

Alcohol-related deaths have risen significantly in the UK during the past decade from 8,362 in 2005 to 8,736 in 2015, with around one-in-five UK adults now drinking to harmful levels.

The association supports a minimum price of no less than 50p per unit of alcohol sold.

More about the BMA’s position on MUP

Read the Lords’ report


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