Plans for a 50p minimum price per unit of alcohol in Wales published today
The draft bill proposes introducing an offence for alcohol to be sold or supplied below the minimum price per unit, which would be set at 50p per unit, although this would be kept under review.
Introducing a 50p minimum unit price is estimated to be worth £882m to the Welsh economy in terms of reductions in illness, crime and workplace absence over 20 years.
Alcohol misuse in Wales is estimated to cost the Welsh NHS around £109m every year in hospital admissions alone. Research commissioned by the Welsh Government estimates that the introduction of a 50p minimum unit price in Wales would lead to 50 fewer deaths a year and help prevent 1,400 hospital admissions.
Crime – and the cost of crime to the taxpayer – would also be expected to fall following the introduction of a minimum unit price, with an estimated 3,684 fewer offences a year; workplace absence would also fall by up to 10,000 days per year.
Mr Gething said:
“Tackling alcohol misuse is a priority for the Welsh Government. In 2013, there were 467 alcohol-related deaths in Wales. Each of these deaths was preventable.
“This new draft Bill signifies our firm commitment to use our legislative powers to improve and protect the health of the people of Wales.
“Evidence shows that introducing minimum unit price of 50p per unit would be effective in reducing alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms and the costs associated with those harms. It will save lives, reduce rates of crime, help ensure valuable NHS resources are used wisely and help businesses by reducing absence from the workplace.
“Minimum unit pricing will affect those drinks sold at an unacceptably low prices relative to their alcohol content. This is a particularly well-targeted measure as it will only have a small impact on moderate drinkers and have the biggest impact on high-risk drinkers.”
The draft Bill proposes:
- New powers for Welsh Ministers to make subordinate legislation to set the minimum unit price for all alcohol sold or supplied in Wales
- Powers for local authorities to enforce the minimum unit price, including powers of entry for authorised officers; an offence of obstructing an authorised officer and the power to issue fixed penalty notices.
The consultation on the draft Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill will run until December 11 2015.