MUP was introduced in RoI last month and Scotland brought in MUP in 2018. Wales introduced a MUP of 50p per unit of alcohol in 2020.
“I made a commitment that I’d hold a public consultation on the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol in Northern Ireland within a year of the launch of the new Substance Use Strategy,” he said. NI’s substance use strategy was launched on the 7th of September 2021 and he has now made good on his promise on MUP with the launch this public consultation.
“The evidence is quite clear that price is a key factor in driving alcohol-related harm,” he claimed, “Alcohol is 74% more affordable now than it was 30 years ago and the availability of alcohol at very low prices is encouraging excessive and – most importantly – harmful consumption.
“Now I want to hear the views of the public and I would urge everyone to have their say and respond to this consultation.”
Modelling for Northern Ireland estimates that a MUP of 50p would:
- reduce alcohol consumption by 5.7% (1.6% for moderate drinkers, 5% for hazardous drinkers, and 8.6% for harmful drinkers)
- increase spending by only 0.8%
- lead to a reduction of 63 alcohol-related deaths per year (after 20 years when the full effect of the policy will be felt) and a reduction of 2,460 alcohol-related admissions to hospital
- see crime fall by an estimated 5,293 offences per year (from year One)
- reduce workplace absence by an estimated 35,000 days per year
- see the total of these reductions in harms being estimated at £956 million over the 20 years – with savings in health costs of £59 million, crime costs of £292m, savings in workplace costs of £46m and Quality Adjusted Life Years gains of £559m.
The consultation document is available on-line at Department of Health (health-ni.gov.uk).