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07/10/2016

UK ‘Cheap Alcohol’ report prompts SHAAP demands for action

A report published yesterday by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), Cheap alcohol: the price we pay”, provides evidence that alcohol can be purchased for as little as 18p per unit in Scotland (3L ‘White Ace’ cider).

The Court of Session’s final decision, expected to support the legality of the Scottish Government’s Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) legislation is due to be announced in the very near future, hopefully concluding the matter.

SHAAP, representing the Scottish medical professions, believes that MUP, banning the selling of alcohol below the price per unit of 50p, is urgently required, as a highly effective tool that will protect harmful drinkers.

Twenty-two Scots die every week because of alcohol. This is tragic and avoidable.

Eric Carlin, SHAAP Director, said:

“For almost a decade, health campaigners have been calling for regulation to target the cheapest, most dangerous alcohol. Consistent opposition from global alcohol producers, fronted by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), means that we have a situation where the average child’s weekly pocket money of £5.75 could buy more than double the weekly recommended adult limit of alcohol.

“We now have three demands:

1. If the Court of Session supports MUP, we call on the Scotch Whisky Association to make a public statement immediately that they will respect the Court’s decision and consider the matter concluded at that stage, desisting from any further appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

2. We call on the UK Government – and SNP MPs at Westminster to press the UK government - to restructure duties on cider, so that higher strength cider products can be taxed at higher rates.

3. We call on the Scottish and UK Governments to commit to working to ensure that safeguarding and reinforcing policies that will reduce harms from alcohol will be considered as a priority in Brexit negotiations and in all future trade negotiations.”