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Our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposed Minimum Unit Price on alcohol - 50p per unit

Posted: 25-01-2018

Introduction 

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs (Scottish Families) was set up in 2003 as a united voice to raise awareness of the challenges faced by family members supporting a loved one’s alcohol or drug use. We are proud of this grassroots history as a supporting and campaigning organisation, created by families for families. 
 
We raise awareness of the needs of families and provide a range of free and confidential services, making it easy for families to get in touch and receive support. Our helpline remains the most common way for people to get in touch; we can engage confidentially with families by phone, email or webchat. Families receive listening support, advice and can receive signposting to one of our national services or to a support group in their local area.  
 
Scottish Families has campaigned in favour of MUP alongside our partners and we welcome this opportunity respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the draft regulations for the minimum unit pricing of alcohol.   
 

Family Response 

Scottish Families welcomes and fully supports the proposed 50p Minimum Unit Price (MUP) on alcohol set out in the consultation document. We believe this measure is the most effective way of curbing the disproportionately high levels of alcohol-related harm in Scotland’s communities, including rising numbers of preventable alcohol-related deaths.  
 
In 2016, 59% of those who contacted our helpline said their loved one was not engaged in any form of treatment often resulting in many families taking on the role of providing support to limit the impact of excess alcohol consumption. 
 
From our work throughout Scotland we are aware of varying views, concerns and anxieties around the introduction MUP in principle. 
 
Some families believe a 50p minimum unit price may have a detrimental impact on household finances, family dynamics and wider relationships whilst others believe there will be no impact at all in curbing excessive alcohol consumption. 
 
As a collective, we trust the robust evidence-base that has been presented in favour of MUP and modelling by the University of Sheffield highlighting how minimum pricing will save lives, improve health and reduce crime. 
 
We are in the process of reviewing how we can respond most effectively to meet the needs of families when this legislation is finally implemented in May 2018. We intend to work closely with families and our key partners to ensure that we continue to offer the right support, advice and guidance required to alleviate any of the unintended consequences that may arise as a result of a 50p minimum unit price on alcohol.   
 

In summary 

Scottish Families believes this measure will be a driver for change; leading to a reduction in alcohol consumption amongst the most hazardous and harmful drinkers in Scotland.  We believe this measure will also encourage more individuals and their families to seek out appropriate support and treatment sooner.  We know that MUP is not a quick fix for all alcohol-related problems in Scotland, but it is a step in the right direction and is one of a variety of whole-population measures being called for in the refresh of Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy.  
 
We fully support the 50p minimum unit price proposed as this currently strikes the right balance between public health and social benefit.