Minimum pricing will reduce deaths and cut crime

The SNP has welcomed a report from the University of Sheffield that shows minimum pricing of alcohol will prevent hundreds of deaths and cut 3,600 crimes each year in Scotland.

The report measures the effect the policy is estimated to have on Scotland’s alcohol misuse problem. The key findings, based on a minimum price of 45p per unit, include:
• Overall weekly consumption across society would fall by six per cent
• Alcohol-related deaths would fall by about 60 in the first year and over 300 by year ten of the policy
• Alcohol-attributable morbidity decreases with an estimated reduction of 1,000 acute and 260 chronic illnesses in year one
• A fall in general hospital admission of 1,660 in year one and 6,630 by year ten
• Harmful drinkers would pay an extra £132 per year, compared to just £9 for moderate drinkers
SNP MSP Bob Doris, deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee, said:

“This report underlines why Scotland needs to introduce minimum pricing – it would be a key lever in fighting this country’s problem with alcohol abuse.

“Even if the measure prevented one death it would be a good thing, but in fact the report shows it would prevent 60 deaths and 260 chronic illnesses in its first year alone. That’s something that will be welcomed across Scottish society.

“The report also refutes claims that responsible, moderate drinkers will be penalised by the introduction of minimum pricing. As the Scottish Government intends, the policy will target those whose use of alcohol is heaviest and most harmful. Heavy drinkers will be pay £132 extra year, in comparison to moderate drinkers who will only pay £9 extra a year.

“It is also extremely encouraging to see that crime rates will fall by 3,600 incidents a year. Alcohol-fuelled crime and social disorder causes misery in our communities. The introduction of minimum pricing will not only improve our nation’s health, it will also make it a safer place to live.

“This is a serious issue in our society and one that the SNP is tackling head on. Minimum pricing is part of a range of measures we are taking to tackle the harmful effects of booze culture, including the introduction of new legislation last year banning multi-buy deals.

“Minimum pricing will make a real difference to Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with the bottle, which is why it is backed by nurses, doctors, academics and the police. I hope that MSPs of all parties will now unite and get behind this policy.”