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Ministers urged to halt rise in minimum unit price of alcohol

Thursday, February 8, 2024

GMB Scotland calls on ministers to halt rise in Minimum Unit Pricing

GMB Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to urgently reconsider plans to increase minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol by 30%.

The union, with members across the drinks industry, warned the policy is already risking jobs and investment while its health benefits remain unproven.

Deputy first minister Shona Robison today revealed the government’s intention to continue the policy beyond its initial five years while increasing the MUP from 50p to 65p.

David Hume, GMB Scotland organiser in the drinks industry, said: “The case for continuing with MUP never mind increasing it gets weaker with every piece of research published.

“Ministers must be guided by reliable research and data not wishful thinking and good intentions.

“The potential consequences of this policy are too damaging for it to be justified with anecdote, hunches and hope.

“Five years ago, we were told this policy would help save lives of problem drinkers. Now we are told it is about curbing the intake of moderate drinkers but there is no evidence to suggest it does either.”

“The health benefits of this policy remain theoretical at best but the risk of undermining one of Scotland’s most successful industries threatening investment and jobs could not be more real.

“It is reckless to consider extending this policy and increasing MUP when there is no substantive evidence that it does any good.”

The union polled workers across the brewing, whisky and spirits last year when 64% said MUP should be scrapped because it needlessly risked jobs and lower wages while doing nothing to discourage problem drinking while a third said it should remain at 50p or be reduced.