We believe sincerely this is the wrong outcome.
The legal arguments aside, the premise for Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is flawed – based as it is on an untested forecast model that believes that the heaviest drinkers are very sensitive to price increases.
This is not only counter to common sense, it is not the view of frontline professionals supporting those in crisis.
Those working in drug and alcohol services and the homelessness sector are clear that to make a substance misused more expensive or to restrict supply will merely displace misuse to another substance or prompt a greater proportion of scarce resources to be directed to sustain misuse, making matter worse for those in crisis and those around them.
In addition, it will adversely affect legitimate consumers, especially those on modest incomes that are typically lower per capita consumers of alcohol than those on higher incomes. It will also disadvantage legitimate retailers and producers – a triple whammy with no discernible improvement in the levels of alcohol misuse.
We are also concerned with the enormous resources that have been used to support this flawed policy and spent on this protracted process. The same time and money would have been better invested to support people struggling with substance misuse and to develop more effective approaches.
A focus on the individual and their circumstance is the most effective approach, though we note that resources invested in drug and alcohol services and in the homelessness sector are being cut.
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