50p minimum unit price for alcohol proposed by Welsh Government

Credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has announced the minimum unit price of alcohol in Wales could be set at 50p by next year.

The new regime is proposed to come into force in summer 2019 and aims to improve health and tackle alcohol-related deaths in the country.

The National Assembly passed the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill last year giving the Welsh Government powers to set a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks and make it an offence to sell below it.

Today a consultation has been launched on the Welsh Government's preferred minimum unit price of 50p.

Read more: Law passed introducing minimum price for alcohol in Wales

In 2017 there were more than 500 alcohol-related deaths and nearly 55,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions in Wales, with health care costs relating to alcohol amounting to an estimated £159 million.

Analysis by the University of Sheffield estimates a minimum unit price of 50p in Wales would lead to 66 (8.5%) fewer alcohol-attributable deaths per year and 1,281 (3.6%) fewer alcohol-attributable hospital admissions.

In Scotland, the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Act was passed in June 2012 and began in May this year after the supreme court ruled it did not breach European law.