SCOTLAND’s minimum unit pricing (MUP) will see the Treasury’s coffers dented by £40 million a year, according to a report by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The Scottish Government said this was proof that the policy would work. The OBR report, published at the same time as Philip Hammond’s spring statement, estimated that the 50p minimum alcohol price, due to come in on May 1, would lead to a huge reduction in alcohol duty receipts.

Under the system, which will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, a bottle of wine of 12 per cent strength will cost at least £4.50, while four 440ml cans of 5 per cent strength lager would cost at least £4.40.

A 70cl bottle of whisky could also not be sold for less than £14, while a three litre bottle of 7.5 per cent strength cider would cost £11.25.

“By raising prices, the MUP can be expected to reduce the volume of alcoholic drinks consumed,” the OBR report says.

“The measure is expected to reduce receipts by £40m in 2018-19, before dropping slightly in later years.

“The declining cost reflects the assumption that the MUP remains at 50p in future years, thereby falling in real terms and eroding the consumption effect.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This is further evidence that minimum unit pricing is likely to lead to a fall in the consumption of the high-strength, cut-price alcohol which causes so much harm.

“We have taken into account a number of factors, and concluded that a minimum price of 50p per unit provides a proportionate response to tackling alcohol misuse – striking a balance between public health and social benefits, and intervention in the market.

“We will keep the rate under review to ensure it delivers these desired outcomes for the people of Scotland.”