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Minimum alcohol pricing has no ‘significant’ impact on Scottish drinks industry, report finds

Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) in Scotland has had a “minimal” economic impact on the nation’s alcohol sector, a new report has found.

Side shot of unrecognizable Asian woman with face mask ,buying alcohol in liquor store during post pandemic Covid 19: Minimum alcohol pricing has no 'significant' impact on Scottish drinks industry, report finds

MUP was brought into force in 2018 following a protracted legal battle, and dictates that anyone with a licence to sell alcohol cannot sell it cheaper than 50p per unit.

Concerns were raised about the impact of the MUP on the alcohol sector prior to its enforcement.

But a new report carried out by Frontier Economics found no significant economic harm to businesses affected in Scotland.

The policy did lower the volume sold of some types of alcohol, the research, commissioned by Public Health Scotland, found.

However, the research found no reports of store closures or job losses directly related to MUP, and suggested that the economic impact of lower volume sales were offset by the higher value of sales.

The report said: “There were one or two individual smaller or specialist retailers who perceived that MUP had reduced their revenues or profits or limited opportunities for growth, though not to an extent that affected staffing or store viability, while others reported no impact.”

Public health minister Maree Todd said that the new report shows MUP has been successful in lowering the consumption of alcohol most associated with harmful drinking without negatively impacting the alcohol industry, the BBC has reported.

However, the Scotch Whisky Association, which mounted a legal challenge to the law, said the research was one part of an “overall evaluation”, and it would await its completion before drawing any conclusions.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “We continue to work in partnership with a range of stakeholders to promote responsible drinking and to tackle alcohol-related harm.”

Earlier this month members of the Scotch whisky trade voiced their outrage at Nicola Sturgeon’s government after a report claimed all alcohol products were “variations of the same thing” and proposed banning the sale of alcohol-branded merchandise. Read more on that story here.

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