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Welsh government plans minimum pricing for alcohol sales | The Guardian

A new law that will introduce a minimum price for the sale of alcohol in Wales has been unveiled by the Welsh government.

The public health (minimum price for alcohol) (Wales) bill is expected to be introduced before the Welsh assembly on Monday by the public health minister, Rebecca Evans.

It will address longstanding health concerns about the effects of excessive drinking and the availability of cheap, strong alcohol.

The problem is estimated to lead to 50,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions a year, costing the Welsh NHS £120m annually. In 2015 there were 463 alcohol-related deaths in Wales.

In Scotland, the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Act was passed in June 2012 but has not been introduced as it has been tied up in a succession of court challenges amid claims that it breaches European law.

The Welsh bill proposes to introduce a minimum price for alcohol and to make it an offence for alcohol to be supplied below that price. The level of the minimum unit price would be specified in regulations made by Welsh ministers.

In 2014, research on the impact of introducing a 50p minimum unit price estimated there would be 53 fewer deaths and 1,400 fewer hospital admissions in Wales each year, saving the NHS more than £130m over 20 years. It was estimated workplace absences would fall by up to 10,000 days per year.

Over a 20-year period, the introduction of a minimum unit price could contribute £882m to the Welsh economy in terms of the reduction in alcohol-related illness, crime and workplace absence.

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Welsh government plans minimum pricing for alcohol sales | Society | The Guardian.

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