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Wales to introduce MUP

Wales is to go ahead with the introduction of Minum Unit Pricing of alcohol, with the country’s First Minister Carwyn Jones stating that MUP would be one of the legislative priorities for the Welsh Assembly according to a report in the UK trade newspaper Morning Advertiser.

The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) Bill will propose a formula for calculating the MUP, based on its strength and volume, and it will enable local authorities to enforce the powers and bring prosecutions, states the MA.

The Welsh had originally intended to introduce an MUP of 50 pence per unit of alcohol back in 2015 but Scotland’s battle with the Scotch Whisky Association at national and European Court of Justice levels had led to a delay in its implementation in both Scotland and Wales.

Eventually the ruling was referred back to the UK Supreme Court which is expected to announce its decision this Summer.

“The Welsh Assembly said it would reconsider the policy if the ruling said that MUP was not legal,” states the MA.

But the licensed trade has aligned itself against such a move.

“Alcohol consumption has fallen 19% since 2004 and indicators of harmful drinking and alcohol-related violence are also falling,” commented the British Beer & Pub Association’s Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds, pointing out that MUP penalises responsible drinkers.

And the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has called on the Welsh Assembly to work more closely with eating- and drinking-out businesses to promote healthier attitudes towards alcohol, states the Morning Advertiser.

“MUP is a blunt instrument and we’re concerned that it could increase costs for pubs, restaurants and bars without having the intended effect of tackling harmful consumption,” said the Association’s Chief Executive Kate Nicholls, “With alcohol consumption in the UK falling and 70% of alcohol consumed away from licensed premises, perhaps the authorities could investigate a more nuanced approach that deals with very cheap alcohol in the off-trade, rather than a blanket measure?

“If the Welsh Assembly is concerned about any perceived health harms related to alcohol consumption, they would be best placed to avoid any measures that discourage the responsible consumption of alcohol in a supervised environment and do more to promote it in favour of unrestricted off-trade alcohol.”



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