End of the happy hour: Minimum alcohol price in Scotland to be set at 50p a unit‎
A bottle of strong cider will cost a minimum of 4.67, while a 12.5% bottle of wine will be at least 4.69Scottish Health Minister says move will save 500 lives a year

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UPDATED:

12:54 GMT, 14 May 2012

The Scottish Government has announced it wants to set a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.

The measure is predicted to save 500 lives a year, and will see the price of a standard bottle of wine at 12.5% volume set at a minimum of 4.69.

A 70cl bottle of whisky at 40% will cost no less than 14, while a similar-sized bottle of vodka at 37.5% will be at least 13.13. A bottle of strong cider at 5.3% will cost no less than 4.67.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon with during a visit to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where she announced the Scottish Government is planning to set a minimum price for alcohol

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon with during a visit to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where she announced the Scottish Government is planning to set a minimum price for alcohol

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement during a visit to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

She said: 'Cheap alcohol comes at a price and now is the time to tackle the toll that Scotland's unhealthy relationship with alcohol is taking on our society.

'Too many Scots are drinking themselves to death. The problem affects people of all walks of life.

'It's no coincidence that as affordability has increased, alcohol-related hospital admissions have quadrupled, and it is shocking that half of our prisoners now say they were drunk when they committed the offence. It's time for this to stop.

'Introducing a minimum price per unit will enable us to tackle these problems, given the clear link between affordability and consumption.

'There is now a groundswell of support for the policy across the medical profession, police forces, alcohol charities and from significant parts of the drinks and licensed trade industry who recognise the benefits minimum pricing can bring – saving lives and reducing crime.'

Raising the price of alcohol is expected to save 500 lives a year in Scotland

Raising the price of alcohol is expected to save 500 lives a year in Scotland

The Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill is making its second passage through the Scottish Parliament after defeat in 2010 when the SNP was in a minority administration.

Labour is the only party not to have supported the revised legislation when it was debated at the first stage in March this year.

Earlier this month, MSPs agreed to a 'sunset clause' meaning the law could be scrapped in six years if the policy does not work.

MSPs have previously banned discount deals such as two-for-one on bottles of wine, restricted “irresponsible” drinks promotions and advertising around premises, and set a requirement for age verification.

The proposed minimum price first time round was 45p per unit.

Ms Sturgeon said: 'Since 45p was first proposed as the minimum price 18 months ago, we have seen inflation of around five per cent. A minimum price of 50p takes this into account and will achieve a similar level of public health benefits to what 45p would have achieved in 2010.'

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said: 'Despite efforts to encourage responsible retailing by supermarkets, they continue to sell high-alcohol products such as vodka and ciders at ridiculously cheap prices to entice customers to their store.

'The trend for cheap alcohol and excessive consumption has a human cost. Alcohol-related illness causes one death every three hours in Scotland and the total healthcare costs are more than 268 million.

'This increasing cost could cripple the NHS with a financial burden that is no longer sustainable, especially in the current financial climate.

'A minimum price, as part of a wider strategy, could end Scotland's heavy-drinking culture and I am proud that Scotland's politicians are once again leading the world on public health policy.'