November 21, 2017 / 3:07 PM / in a year

Scottish government to start minimum alcohol pricing on May 1

EDINBURGH, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland, aimed at improving public health in the northernmost part of the United Kingdom, will be introduced on May 1 next year, Scotland’s devolved government said on Tuesday.

A consultation on the preferred minimum unit price of 50 pence ($0.66) will be published next week, it added. One unit is defined as 10 millilitres (8 grams) of pure alcohol.

The minimum price per unit is aimed at cheap, strong alcohol favoured by binge-drinkers and tackling a long-standing health problem which is worse in Scotland than in other parts of the UK. The Scottish government won a landmark court case against the Scottish Whisky Association last week allowing it to go ahead with the move.

“With alcohol on sale today at just 18 pence a unit, we have to act to tackle the scourge of cheap, high-strength drink that causes so much damage,” health minister Shona Robison said in a statement.

“Research shows a minimum unit price of 50 pence would cut alcohol-related deaths by 392 and hospital admissions by 8,254 over the first five years of the policy,” she added. (Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Stephen Addison)

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