Minimum alcohol price to be passed in Scotland24th May 2012
New minimum prices for alcohol are set to be passed by the Scottish parliament.
In a move to tackle drink problems in Scotland, the SNP government wants to set the minimum price of alcohol at 50p a unit, which would see a four-pack of lager cost at least £3.52.
Labour is not in favour of the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill, however the policy has won broad political backing in the country and support across the medical profession, police and parts of the drinks and licensed trade industry.
Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said alcohol-related hospital admissions had soared as alcohol had become cheaper and half of prisoners said they were drunk when they committed offences.
Researchers at Sheffield University have looked into the impact of a 50p minimum price for alcohol and suggest that such a policy would see drinking fall by 5.5%, with a 10% fall for harmful drinkers and a 2.5% fall in consumption for moderate drinkers.
Experts say such a move would also cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions.
The minimum level would see those with harmful drinking habits having to pay an extra £120 a year to continue their habit at the same level.
It is the second time minimum pricing legislation has been put before the Scottish Parliament - the first attempt was defeated in 2010, when the SNP was a minority government.
This attempt is expected to be successful but there is a clause in the legislation that will see it dropped after six years if it does not work.
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