SBPA Echoes Outrage at Scottish Government Cost Increase

Photo by Poojitha Prasad on Unsplash

Across Scotland the news that the Scottish Government is to double down on it Minimum Unit Pricing Policy has been met by cries of disbelief and outrage. At a time when the cost of living crisis is biting deep, the increase is another blow to those finding it difficult to make ends meet and who enjoy a drink as a means of relaxing. The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) have responded to the latest announcement from the Scottish Government that following their consultation, Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) will continue beyond 30April and be increased to 65 pence per unit (ppu).

Commenting, CEO of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, Emma McClarkin said: “The decision to press ahead with a significant increase to MUP is disappointing, especially during a cost-of-living crisis. The vast majority of people consume alcohol responsibly and this increase will put further pressure on strained household budgets.

Emma McClarkin points to the lack of evidence that the Policy is having any positive effect (and which is seen by many as another tax on those who can afford it least): “The evaluation also showed no substantial evidence of the policy working. The future introduction of a DRS will also interact with MUP, particularly lower strength products such as beer and likely distort consumer behaviour, which has not been considered. We strongly advise the Scottish Government to reconsider the increase at this time and instead look towards targeted interventions which have a proven record in tackling alcohol misuse.” 

Of course the increase just doesn’t just hit the consumer. It is another straw on the back of a struggling economy and a business sector that hasn’t fully recovered from the effects of lockdown.

The Government’s view is that these measures are necessary to combat the scourge of alcohol related illness that plagues Scottish society. In 2022 alone there were 1,276 deaths in Scotland attributed to alcohol related causes.

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