Minimum alcohol pricing law introduced in Wales

The price of cheap, high-strength alcohol will be more expensive from Monday after a law setting a minimum price for alcohol in Wales was introduced.

From today, alcohol will not be sold or supplied for less than 50p a unit. A similar law was introduced in Scotland in 2018.

Most alcoholic drinks will not see a change in price, but some high-strength and low-cost drinks will become significantly more expensive.

The changes aim to reduce harmful levels of drinking. According to the Welsh Government, ten people die every week from alcohol related causes.

The biggest price increases will be for what's known as "white ciders" – strong, cheap ciders which are often sold in large plastic bottles.

Some of these are set to more than double in price and may well disappear from sale in many places.

The law was introduced in Scotland in 2018 Credit: PA Images

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said cheap alcohol increases harmful drinking.

''The moderate drinkers who may be worried about the price of a pint going up,'' he said.

''The aim of this legislation is to reduce the harm being done by those most at risk of alcohol abuse.''

Dr Sarah Aitken from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board described the move as an ''important step.''

Drinks sold in pubs are already well above the 50p per unit minimum price Credit: PA Images
  • Will it affect pub prices?

Drinks sold in pubs are already well above the 50p per unit minimum price, and so this new law will not affect them.

The minimum price means you will not be able to buy a pint of beer for less than £1.25 or a large glass of wine for less than about £1.65 - and pub prices are higher than that.

Many pub owners have said they support MUP (Minimum Unit Pricing) because they believe it will create a more level playing field between pubs and supermarkets.

  • What do supermarkets think?

Asda has warned the new system in Wales would cost them £1m Credit: PA Images

Most of the major alcohol producers and the big supermarkets have opposed MUP, suggesting that they believe it will hit their sales.

Asda has warned that changing the system in Wales would cost them £1m.

Alcohol Change UK said: "Evidence from around the world shows that when the price of alcohol goes up, the amount people buy goes down, and we’re confident that this is what will happen in Wales after March 2, 2020.

"If it becomes clear that MUP is increasing supermarket alcohol revenues, we will be calling for any additional profits to be channelled via taxation into services to support people with alcohol problems."