Alcohol Duty Minimum Pricing

I fully understand that the excessive use of alcohol can have devastating effects not only on individuals’ health but also on their families and communities. Excessive drinking can lead to a range of health problems so I am encouraged by some of the measures taken by UK Government Ministers to tackle excessive drinking.

As you may know, alcohol duty is a reserved matter for the UK Government. After consulting on reform to the system of Alcohol Duty, I am delighted that the Government is overhauling the rules post EU exit. These reforms will simplify duty rules and tax drinks in proportion to their alcohol content. New reliefs will be introduced to support pubs, and help small producers to expand and thrive. And further, the Chancellor froze all alcohol duties for the third Budget running.

Although alcohol duty is reserved, alcohol licensing is a devolved matter. In Scotland, a minimum unit price of 50p per unit has been in place since 2018. My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament supported the minimum unit pricing, but I know they believe that the effectiveness of the 50p price must be closely monitored. I welcome that, following pressure from my MSP colleagues, the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act includes a sunset clause, which will force Holyrood to re-enact the legislation after six years. By this time, the 50p figure will be 10 years old so the sunset clause will enable a vital re-evaluation.