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Minimum pricing would save 60 lives in first year

Published:  31 January, 2012

A 45p per unit minimum charge for alcohol would save around 60 lives in the first year and reduce hospital admissions by 1,660, according to a University of Sheffield report.

The report, which also says it would save Scotland million of pounds, was carried out by researchers from the university, and published as the Cabinet Secretary for Health Nicola Sturgeon appeared at the Health Committee to talk about Minimum Unit Pricing.

It looks at a range of minimum prices from 25p to 70p, with and without a ban on promotions and will help Ministers decide on the level of the minimum price, to be announced in the spring.

Key findings, using a 45p minimum price, with a promotions ban, as an illustrative figure, include:

*Alcohol related deaths would fall by about 60 in the first year and over 300 by year ten of the policy.

* Overall weekly consumption across society would fall by 6%.

*Alcohol-attributable morbidity decreases with an estimated reduction of 1,000 acute and 260 chronic illnesses in year one

* Harmful drinkers would pay an extra £132 per year, compared to just £9 for moderate drinkers

* Harm reduction valued at £952 million over 10 years

*A fall in general hospital admission of 1,660 in year one and 6,630 by year ten

* A fall in crime of 3,600 offences per year

* Around 36,500 fewer workdays lost through absenteeism and 1,180 fewer people unemployed because of alcohol misuse each year.

Sturgeon said: "We all know that Scotland has a serious problem with alcohol misuse, with Scots drinking more than any other part of the UK and these findings further confirm my belief that minimum pricing can be a key weapon in the battle against this."

The Sheffield team first carried out the report in 2009 and it has been refreshed in light of new data.