Trea­sury will take £40m hit from min­i­mum pric­ing

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

The SNP’S min­i­mum al­co­hol pric­ing will cost the Trea­sury £40m next year, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial in­de­pen­dent fore­casts.

The tax take from the pol­icy will be re­duced as Scots drink less in re­sponse to the cheap­est booze go­ing up in price, says the Of­fice for Bud­get Re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Min­is­ters in Ed­in­burgh say this is “fur­ther ev­i­dence” of what min­i­mum unit pric­ing will do to tackle prob­lem drink­ing.

The OBR, which makes eco­nomic fore­casts as part of the Chan­cel­lor’s spring state­ment, said in its re­port: “By rais­ing prices, the MUP can be ex­pected to re­duce the vol­ume of al­co­holic drinks con­sumed.

“The mea­sure is ex­pected to re­duce re­ceipts by £40m in 2018-19, be­fore drop­ping slightly in later years.”

MUP will fi­nally come into force in Scot­land in May fol­low­ing years of de­lays af­ter the pol­icy was held up by le­gal chal­lenges.

The 50p per unit rate means a bot­tle of 75cl wine, of 12.5% al­co­hol strength, must cost at least £4.69.

Miles Briggs, for the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives, said: “The Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives sup­ported this leg­is­la­tion on the ba­sis that it in­cluded a sun­set clause so that all the ef­fects of the pol­icy could be un­der­stood and acted upon.

“This cost to the pub­lic fi­nances is some­thing to as­sess, along with changes to con­sumer be­hav­iour.”

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