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Scotland Parliment agrees to Minimum Unit Pricing rise Published Date: 01/01/0001

Parliament agrees continuation of policy and increase to 65p.

The minimum price per unit of alcohol will increase by 15 pence after the Scottish Parliament approved plans to continue with the public health measure.

As part of a ‘sunset clause’ when Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) legislation was introduced in 2018, it had been due to end on 30 April, however today’s vote by MSPs ensures its continuation.

In addition, a price increase was required to counteract the effects of inflation, with a rise to 65p selected as the Scottish Government seeks to increase the positive effects of the policy.

The increase will take effect on 30 September 2024.

Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Christina McKelvie said:

“I’m pleased that Parliament has agreed to continue MUP legislation and to raise the level it is set at.

“Research commended by internationally-renowned public health experts estimated that our world-leading policy has saved hundreds of lives, likely averted hundreds of alcohol-attributable hospital admissions and contributed to reducing health inequalities.

“Despite this progress, deaths caused specifically by alcohol rose last year – and my sympathy goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. However, as a letter to The Lancet by public health experts makes clear, it is likely that without MUP there would have been an even greater number of alcohol-specific deaths.

“As we have made clear, the policy aims to reduce alcohol-related harm by reducing consumption at population level, with a particular focus on targeting people who drink at hazardous and harmful levels. 

“We believe the proposals strike a reasonable balance between public health benefits and any effects on the alcoholic drinks market and impact on consumers. Evidence suggests there has not been a significant impact on business and industry as a whole but we will continue to monitor this.”


The Scottish Government is determined to do all it can to reduce alcohol-related harm. Alongside MUP it will continue to invest in treatment and a wide range of other measures. Funding for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships rose to a record £112 million in 2023-24.

Research conducted by Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow estimated that MUP had reduced alcohol-attributable deaths by 13.4% – 156 a year – and was likely to have reduced hospital admissions wholly attributable to alcohol by 4.1% up to the end of 2020 compared to what would have happened if MUP had not been in place.

Public health experts wrote an open letter to The Lancet last August commending Public Health Scotland’s evaluation of minimum unit pricing commenting that it was “high quality” and “comprehensive”.  

As part of a review of the level of minimum unit price, the Scottish Government commissioned the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, who are experts in this field, to undertake new modelling. Putting their analysis in the context of current prices, this estimated that continuing and raising MUP to 65p could avert an additional 60 deaths and 774 fewer hospital admissions in the first year, compared to the price remaining constant in real terms.

Public attitudes research published in September 2023 found that overall more people were likely to be in favour of MUP (43%) than against it (38%) - in line with previous Scottish Social Attitudes Survey findings on MUP at intervals between 2013-2019.

Final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

PHS evaluation found there was no clear evidence of substantial negative impacts on the alcoholic drinks industry.