Scottish alcohol minimum unit price takes effect

The price of whisky could go up by as much as £4 per bottle on some brands

The idea behind the law is to try and save lives, with a minimum price set for alcohol based on how many units it contains.

Research from Sheffield University estimates that by bringing in the minimum unit pricing at 50 pence per unit 60 lives will be saved in its first year, rising to 300 lives per year after ten years of implementation.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the legislation as "bold and brave" action.

"Our action is bold and it is fearless, and shows once again that we are leading the way in introducing innovative solutions to public health challenges".

The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act was passed by MSPs at Holyrood in 2012.

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Chief executive Shirley Cramer said numerous studies and global evidence suggest MUP can significantly reduce deaths and other health harms.

In the same year there were 30.9 male deaths related to alcohol for every 100,000 men in Scotland.

"I think we will see countries across Europe and further afield look to replicate what has been done here in Scotland", she added.

The move has been welcomed by health professionals.

Executive director Nick Leggett says doing the same thing here would only hurt the alcohol sector by putting off responsible drinkers.

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"We've been supporters of Minimum Unit Pricing since it was first proposed in 2011 and have worked closely with the Scottish Government and our customers around its successful implementation". This is absolutely unacceptable.

In Scotland, the floor price will be set at 50p per unit.

The policy is a world first, and is meant to address the harms to health caused by the sale and consumption of cheap, strong alcohol and reduce alcohol-related crime.

"It will help to reduce the burden of alcohol on our health service, on Scottish society, and most importantly on individuals and their families". Heavy drinkers in poverty are at the greatest risk from over-consumption and Minimum Unit Pricing aims to tackle this group specifically.

"Importantly, the determination with which minimum unit pricing has been pursued also shows that the alcohol industry can not expect to successfully block policies created to protect the health of the public".

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Since the change announcement was made for Scotland, Balance North East has been among the organisations calling for better control on the availability for cheap alcohol - and Mr Mooney has said there is a lot of work already being undertaken across the region.

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