Alcohol Action Ireland today, Wednesday 19 June, welcomed the release of the Scottish monitoring report on alcohol data.
The report, from NHS Scotland, is the first to be published since the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland in May 2018. In 2018, 9.9 litres per capita of pure alcohol were sold in Scotland – the lowest level seen since the monitoring process began. Since 2010, the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult through supermarkets and off-licences has fallen by 9% in Scotland while it has risen by 3% in England and Wales in the same period. There is also a substantial fall in the volume of alcohol being sold at very low prices.
Commenting on the report, Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, said
‘The report gives the first indications of the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing. This public health measure is designed to reduce levels of harmful drinking. The Scottish government has been very pro-active in tackling the serious issues around alcohol. Ireland, which has even higher levels of alcohol consumption, needs to address the multiple harms from alcohol in a systematic way.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018, which includes such progressive measures as Minimum Unit Pricing, restrictions on advertising, product separation and labelling information for all alcohol products, was enacted almost nine months ago and has the potential to make a significant impact on the harms from alcohol in Ireland. However, many sections of the Act including MUP, have yet to be commenced by Minister Simon Harris.
We know that young people are particularly price sensitive, so MUP is an essential part of the suite of measures in the Act.’
The Alcohol Action Annual price survey (August 2018) demonstrated that a bottle of gin can be purchased for as little as €12.49. If Minimum Unit Pricing was implemented, the price would rise to at least €21, so driving a reduction in alcohol consumption.
This further delay of the implementation of the Act is deeply disappointing as Ireland continues to lose three people a day to alcohol related illness and incident.
Alcohol Action Ireland calls on the Minister to clarify the date of commencement for these necessary measures as quickly as possible and certainly before the Oireachtas summer recess.
Read the full NHS report here