A minimum unit price for alcohol is on its way to becoming law in Wales

A minimum unit price for alcohol is on its way to becoming law in Wales

The public health minister for Wales has unveiled a bill that would see a minimum unit price (MUP) placed on alcohol in the country.

Rebecca Evens this week introduced the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill to the National Assembly for Wales. The bill proposes the introduction of an MUP for alcohol supplied in Wales - and to make it an offence for alcohol to be supplied below that price. 

Although a specific unit price is yet to be set, the public health minister outlined 2014 research around a GBP0.50 (US$0.66) charge. The research estimates 53 fewer deaths and 1,400 fewer hospital admissions in Wales per year, if a GBP0.50 MUP is introduced. 

"There is a very clear and direct link between levels of excessive drinking and the availability of cheap alcohol," Evans said. "So we need to take decisive action now to address the affordability of alcohol, as part of wider efforts to tackle alcohol related harm.

"The bill I am unveiling... will tackle excessive alcohol consumption by making it an offence for retailers to sell strong alcohol at low prices. It will make an important contribution to improving health outcomes, by putting prevention and early intervention at the heart of our efforts to reduce alcohol-related harm. This will undoubtedly help save lives."

According to the 2014 figures, a GBP0.50 per unit charge would "save the Welsh NHS more than GBP130m over 20 years". 

A bill is a draft law. There are usually four stages for considering a bill before it is passed. The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill is now at stage one.  

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