Alcohol Minimum Pricing
As part of its consideration of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill, the Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee issued a call for evidence on the general principles of the Bill. The Bill contains a provision to introduce a minimum price of alcohol with the aim of reducing alcohol consumption in Scotland and reducing alcohol related harm. Given the clear correlation between the relative low cost and consumption of alcohol there is a strong argument for the action that is proposed to control price as a way of reducing consumption. Unfortunately, there is no empirical evidence of which the RSE is aware that demonstrates how and at what level minimum pricing would have a significant effect. If the Scottish Parliament decides to act, and the RSE believes that it should, it must accept that there are some uncertainties about the level of demand elasticity; the level of minimum price that would be required in order to have a significant impact; and the potential unintended side effects. In its response to the Committee, the RSE comments on these important aspects.
A press release highlighting the key points of the response has also been issued.