The ALLIANCE have signed a joint letter urging the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee to retain and uprate MUP for alcohol.

Along with over 80 organisations across Scotland, the ALLIANCE has signed a joint letter to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee to urge MSPs to retain and increase the minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol to 65p. The move comes ahead of a crucial Holyrood vote.

Co-ordinated by Alcohol Focus Scotland and SHAAP (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems), the letter calls for cross-party support for the renewal of MUP and to uprate the price to 65p per unit.

The joint letter states that minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol has saved and improved
hundreds of lives in Scotland since it was introduced in 2018, citing extensive and robust evaluation
by Public Health Scotland. The evaluation estimates that MUP had reduced deaths caused solely by
alcohol by 13.4%, driven by significant improvements in chronic outcomes, particularly alcoholic liver
disease. This translates to 156 families each year who have been spared the loss of a loved one. In addition, hospital admissions are down by an estimated 4.1%, reducing pressure on the NHS.

The benefits of the policy have been seen most in more deprived communities, indicating that it has
helped to reduce health inequalities.

In the letter we highlight that failure to raise MUP to 65p per unit will result in an estimated 800 more deaths, and almost 10,000 additional hospital admissions at an estimated cost of £11 million to
our hospitals, over the next five years.

Speaking on publication of the letter, Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus said:

“We have been delighted to see support for our joint letter on increasing MUP coming from such a
diverse range of organisations across the whole of Scotland and beyond. This clearly demonstrates
that increasing MUP is not simply a concern to those working in public health but stretches right
across Scottish society – very much reflecting the nature and extent of alcohol related harm. Most of us know someone, or perhaps several people, whose lives have been blighted by their own drinking or by that of a loved one. Minimum pricing has resulted in tangible benefits to Scotland’s health and wellbeing. Hundreds of lives have been saved, it has helped reduce the burden on our NHS through significantly reducing hospital admissions at a time of major strain for the health service – and has resulted in a reduction in health inequalities affecting some of our most vulnerable communities. The Scottish Parliament has a great track record of cross-party action to improve public health. We hope that all parties will come together to continue with and uprate minimum unit pricing as part of a multi-faceted approach to changing Scotland’s relationship with alcohol. Failure to do so would risk a reversal in the many gains we have seen from this world leading policy.”

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), and former
consultant hepatologist said:

“Alcohol harm affects all aspects of Scottish life and healthcare professionals see it amongst patients
every day. The amount of alcohol harm is closely linked to how affordable it is, so it is no surprise that
MUP has reduced that harm. As expected, it has been most effective in the most deprived communities who suffer the highest number of deaths and highest number of alcohol-related hospitalisations, thus reducing health inequalities. I am pleased to see MUP receiving such widespread support across Scotland: this reflects the clear understanding that MUP not only needs to continue, but to set it a rate any less than 65p would result in lives concentrated in our poorest communities being unnecessarily lost.”

You can read the letter using the link below.

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