PLANS to increase miniumum unit pricing (MUP) to 80p have been put forward by the Scottish Government.

In a consultation document sent to the alcohol industry, there are options of raising the current rate of 50p per unit, with the survey asking firms how such a move could impact business.

Campaigners have been calling for MUP - which has been in place since 2018 - to be uprated in line with inflation for quite some time amid concerns its effect could be swallowed up by rising prices.

It means a bottle of whisky could rise by £8, while a six pack of Tennent's could end up costing just under £10.

The survey does also explore the option of decreasing the current rate and keeping it at the same level, while there are options for 60p and 70p rates.

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The Federation of Independent Retailers said an MUP of 80p is “over the top”.

Hussan Lal, the group’s president in Scotland, said: “This could price out those who look forward to a beer or a glass of wine.

“It would be particularly hard when family budgets are already badly squeezed by the cost of living crisis.

"We welcome any reduction in harmful levels of drinking. It undoubtedly blights many lives.”

But Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) has said the effectiveness of MUP will not last unless it is uprated.

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, chair of expert clinician partnership at SHAAP, said: “Minimum unit pricing has achieved its intended effect of reducing alcohol consumption and harms. This has been evidenced by the Public Health Scotland final evaluation, which was published last month.

“However, as long as the level remains fixed at 50p (the level proposed when approved by Parliament 11 years ago and unchanged since it came into effect in 2018), the effectiveness of MUP is being continuously eroded by inflation, currently running at 8.7%.

“The original modelling by Sheffield University, on which MUP was based, indicated that a higher price would save significantly more lives and prevent more hospital admissions.

“In order to maintain MUP’s life-saving effect, it is essential that MUP is uprated. Based on inflation, 50p in 2018 was equivalent to 62p in May 2023.

“SHAAP are calling for an uprating of MUP to at least 65p when the Scottish Parliament decides this matter next year.”

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The Scottish Government said the responses from the consultation will inform its review of MUP later this year.

In June, a report found that since its introduction alcohol deaths were down by more than 13%.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “These surveys are part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing work to review the operation and effect of MUP at the current price of 50 pence per unit and will help inform a potential future level of MUP, should evidence support its continuation.

“The Scottish Government’s final report will be laid in Parliament later this year.

“Recent research published in the Lancet by Public Health Scotland and Glasgow University estimated that around 150 alcohol attributable deaths and 400 alcohol attributable hospital admissions each year have been averted since the policy was introduced, with the largest reductions in our most deprived areas.”