All alcohol sold in Scottish stores must cost at least 50p per unit when minimum unit pricing comes into force on 1 May.

This was the message from Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison who announced details of the country’s scheme.

“We have to tackle the scourge of cheap, high-strength drink that causes so much damage to so many families. This move will save thousands of lives,” she said. 

The Health Secretary also revealed the details of a consultation held to get differing views on the upcoming policy.

Nearly 75% of respondents supported the 50p unit price, but 17.1% wanted a higher price than 50p. This includes the Scottish Lib Dems and Green Party who wanted a 60p unit price.

Retailers have been supportive of the policy for reducing alcohol harm while also increasing margins and forcing supermarkets to raise prices.

Analysis by Retail Express revealed the 50p MUP will raise the prices of 21% of the top 125 alcohol lines sold in convenience stores, potentially adding £20,000 in annual profit.

When applied to the weekly alcohol sales figures in Faisal Naseem’s Arbroath Party Time (Premier) in Angus, the 50p MUP increased profits by over 70%.

When the 60p MUP was applied, profits increased by more than 160%. Both scenerios rely on sales volumes remaining static.

NFRN president Linda Sood spoke in Parliament last week urging politicians to build a UK-wide MUP policy.

“Minimum unit pricing is a good step forward in cutting consumption among those at risk from heavy drinking, and protecting convenience retailers and their staff who face verbal and physical abuse from those who’ve got drunk on pocket-money-price alcohol,” she said. 

Wales is also planning to introduce an MUP policy this year but the details are yet to be revealed.