The Scottish Government has announced plans to continue setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol and to increase it by 15p.
The plans are set to go before the Scottish Parliament for approval.
As part of a ‘sunset clause’ when Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) legislation was introduced in 2018, it will end on 30 April this year unless Parliament votes to keep it.
The price increase is included to counteract the effects of inflation and 65p has been selected as the Scottish Government seeks to increase the positive effects of the policy.
If Parliament agrees to the plan, it will take effect on 30 September 2024.
Research conducted by Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow estimated that MUP had reduced alcohol-attributable deaths by 13.4 per cent - 156 a year - and was likely to have reduced hospital admissions wholly attributable to alcohol by 4.1 per cent up to the end of 2020 compared to what would have happened if MUP had not been in place.
Deputy first minister Shona Robison said: “Research commended by internationally-renowned public health experts estimated that our world-leading Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) 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.
“We believe the proposals, which are supported by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, 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.