The Welsh Government has voted to approve The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Act 2018 which will make it an offence for alcohol to be supplied below a fixed minimum unit price (MUP), likely to be 50p per unit. The law will come into force on 2 March 2020.
The decision to approve the legislation is based on research which suggests that MUP will:
- result in 66 fewer deaths and 1,281 fewer hospital admissions in Wales per annum;
- save the Welsh NHS more than £90m in direct healthcare costs over the next 20 years;
- will reduce workplace absence by 9,800 days per year; and
- contribute £783m to the Welsh economy in terms of the reduction of alcohol related illness; crime and workplace absence.
The Welsh Government say that the new law will support the Government’s work to tackle harmful drinking by addressing the availability and affordability of cheap, strong alcohol. The move has been welcomed by the Welsh Health Minister, Vaughn Gething, and the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr. Frank Atherton, who said that the move “could help save many lives.”
With Scotland and now Wales having introduced MUP is it only a matter of time before Westminster follow suit? Time will tell and as always we will keep you updated with all the latest developments.