Welsh pass MUP

The Welsh Assembly has followed Scotland in passing a MUP bill on foot of a vote recently in the Senedd which took into account a number of suggested amendments.

Expected to come into force next year, the Bill passed Stage Four and was approved with only five votes against passing the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill out of a total of 50 votes.

“This legislation provides us with an opportunity for a step change,” said Health Secretary Vaughan Gething who took charge of the bill from Rebecca Evans last November, “This legislation takes a sensible, targeted approach to a very real and evident problem in Wales today.

“Wales, like so many other western countries, has a problem with cheap, strong, readily-available alcohol. This legislation will make an important contribution to addressing this issue”.

However the Wine & Spirit Trade Association there holds a sceptical view of MUP.

Speaking at the time that the Scottish minimum alcohol bill was implemented, its Chief Executive Miles Beale said, “Minimum Unit Pricing has been a very complex and costly measure to introduce. The Scottish Government’s policy will increase the price of around half of the alcohol on supermarket shelves and will impact most drinkers, particularly those on lowest incomes”.

The WSTA has held a long-term view that MUP will be ineffective in changing problem drinkers.

Miles Beale has already stated that It’s vital to rigorously and objectively monitor the impact on businesses and on consumers of the MUP experiment in Scotland and that it is evaluated over time.

The Welsh Assembly is likely to implement the Bill next Summer with the UK government considering the introduction of MUP into England when the evidence has been reviewed.

The Welsh government will now open up public consultation to establish what the Minimum Unit Price for Wales should be,

Alcohol up to 1.2% ABV, as well as “aromatic flavouring essence” – for example Angostura Bitters – are not included in the Bill.

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