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Scotland alcohol sales at lowest level in 25 years after price controls introduced | UK News



Scotland has seen the lowest level of alcohol sales for almost 25 years after new cost controls were introduced.

The country was the first in the world to introduce minimum pricing in May last year, which stated alcohol sold in shops and supermarkets could not be bought for less than 50p per unit.

The move was aimed at tackling Scotland’s drink culture.

Alcohol sales in Scotland fell to the lowest level for almost 25 years
Alcohol sales in Scotland fell to the lowest level for almost 25 years

A total of 23,494 people were admitted to hospital with an alcohol related issue in 2017-18, with some people admitted more than once.

People from the most deprived areas were more than eight times more likely to need to go to hospital than those in the most affluent parts of Scotland.

Meanwhile, the poorest parts of the country had alcohol death rates that were more than seven times higher than those in the least deprived communities.

Scotland has double the amount of alcohol related deaths compared to England and Wales
There are 22 alcohol-specific deaths every week in Scotland

The NHS Health Scotland report shows alcohol related deaths are still on the rise, with 1,120 in 2017 – the equivalent of 22 people dying each week.

The problem also costs the country’s health system more than £3bn annually.

The study says the total volume of pure alcohol sold per adult last year was 9.9 litres – the equivalent of 19 units per person per week.

Scottish Government guidelines say: “It is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.”

There is no safe level of alcohol consumption, according to a new study
It is claimed alcohol causes around 1,100 cases of cancer every year in Scotland

But despite sales falling north of the border, the amount of pure alcohol bought by adults in Scotland was still 9% higher than in England and Wales in 2018.

But Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the reduction was a “promising start”.

“There are, on average, 22 alcohol-specific deaths every week in Scotland and 683 hospital admissions, and behind every one of these statistics is a person, a family, and a community badly affected by alcohol harm,” she said.

“Given the clear and proven link between consumption and harm, minimum unit pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the cheap, high strength alcohol that causes so much harm to so many families.”

Doctors have also welcomed the findings, with BMA Scotland chairman Dr Lewis Morrison saying he hoped it would lead to a “substantial change in Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol that we know is needed”.

Wide range of alcohol for sale in a British supermarket.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the reduction was a ‘promising start’

“Today we have seen the volume of alcohol sold per adult in Scotland drop to its lowest level since 1994 – with a 3% drop in alcohol sales per adult in 2018, compared to the previous year,” he said.

He added: “Minimum unit pricing is a long-term strategy and to see results like this in the first year is extremely encouraging.”

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