Alcohol sales up in Scotland
Alcohol sales increased last year, reversing a period of declining sales in Scotland.
According to figures published by NHS Health Scotland 10.7 litres of pure alcohol were sold per adult in Scotland in 2014, up slightly from the previous year. This means Scots continue to drink almost a fifth more than in England and Wales.
Almost three quarters of alcohol sold in Scotland was from supermarkets or off-licences, the highest market share ever seen, and more than half of that was sold at under the Scottish Government’s planned minimum 50p a unit pricing, a policy being challenged by the drinks industry in the European Court of Justice.
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Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “The fact that more than half of alcohol in the off-trade is being sold at under 50p per unit is worrying, given the established link between affordability and alcohol-related harm. It reinforces our belief that minimum unit pricing is an essential part of an effective alcohol strategy.”
The figures come a week after demographic statistics showed alcohol-related deaths have increased by five per cent in the same year, following a two per cent rise in the previous year.
Alcohol deaths are now almost double what they were in the 1990s.
A final decision on the minimum unit pricing case is not expected until later this year.