The Welsh government has put forward plans to set a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.
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. Alcohol misuse in Wales is estimated to cost the Welsh NHS around £109m every year in hospital admissions alone. A consultation on the proposals under the Public Health Bill is set for December 2015.
Deputy Minister for Health Vaughan 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.’
Meanwhile the case for minimum pricing in Scotland is to be heard by the European Court of Justice. Legislation to bring in a minimum unit price of 50p was passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2012. However a legal challenge has been brought by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which argues the move breaches European law.