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by Kirsteen Paterson
05 February 2024
Scottish alcohol levy could raise £60m a year, report claims

The levy would apply to larger retailers | Alamy

Scottish alcohol levy could raise £60m a year, report claims

A Public Health Supplement-style levy for supermarkets selling alcohol could generate almost £60m per year to tackle drink-related harms, it is claimed.

Economic research from Fraser of Allander Institute suggests the move could bring in £57m annually.

The charity Alcohol Focus Scotland, which commissioned the study, said the proceeds could be used for prevention, recovery and treatment work.

Estimates suggest revenue from alcohol sales has increased by more than £30m a year despite a 3.5 per cent drop in purchases in the first year of minimum unit pricing.

The Public Health Supplement was in place from 2012 and applied to non-domestic rates for large retailers selling alcohol and tobacco. Set it 13p, it raised £95m before it ended in 2015.

The Scottish Government has committed to exploring its reintroduction. Scottish Labour has also called for a Public Health Levy to tackle alcohol-related problems.

João Sousa, deputy director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: "Different rates would naturally lead to different levels of revenue – for example, we estimate a 10p rate would bring in around £44m, and a 16p levy would bring in around £70m."

Alison Douglas, head of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "The Scottish Government has recognised the increasing number of deaths from alcohol, up by 25 per cent in the last three years, as a public health emergency, but to tackle this issue needs appropriate funding.

"By redirecting some of this additional money,  can relieve the pressures that our health and social care services are experiencing and address the 40 per cent decline in people accessing specialist alcohol treatment over the past decade."

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