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  1. ITV Report

50p minimum unit price for alcohol set to go ahead

Credit: PA

A 50p minimum unit price for alcohol in Wales is set to go ahead following a public consultation.

With the price of alcohol having increased significantly over the past two decades, Ministers have been clear about the need for pricing intervention to tackle alcohol misuse.

The National Assembly supported minimum pricing when the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill was passed last year.

The 2018 Act is targeted at protecting the health of hazardous and harmful drinkers who tend to consume greater amounts of low-cost and high-strength alcohol.

540
alcohol-related deaths in Wales in 2017-2018
55,000
alcohol-related hospital admissions

It provides a formula for calculating the applicable minimum price for alcohol by multiplying the percentage strength of the alcohol, its volume and the minimum unit price.

It allows the Welsh Government to target the sale and supply of low-cost and high-strength alcohol.

While Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, acknowledged the potential impact on household budgets and the risks of switching to other substances, he stressed the importance of tackling alcohol misuse.

We will continue to use all available levers to reduce the harms caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol, as we develop and take forward a new delivery plan for substance misuse.

The consultation process raised a number of issues, such as the potential impacts on vulnerable groups, household budgets, the risk of switching to other substances and the potential increase in the number of people seeking support from services.

We will continue to consider these potential impacts. We have commissioned specific research to look at the risk of switching, which will report ahead of implementation.

– Vaughan Gething AM, Health Minister

The Welsh Government will now ask the National Assembly for Wales to approve the minimum unit price.