Minimum pricing of alcohol is working, according to a public health professor from Glasgow University.

Professor Petra Meier was asked by Sandesh Gulhane, Glasgow Conservative MSP, how to ensure deprived communities were not impacted by alcohol.

He said two recent reports showed the policy was not working.

Petra Meier, is also director of SIPHER (Systems Science in Public Health and Health Economics Research).

Glasgow Times:

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She said: “I don’t quite agree that the policy isn’t working, it’s working on the whole. There are some very heavy drinkers who may not have the opportunity to cut down their drinking who then substitute for food spending.

“I don’t think that’s a consequence of the price you put on alcohol. It’s a problem on health services that haven’t been available.

"Addiction services have had major cutbacks during Covid. It’s been virtually inaccessible unless you were able to join online groups and make do with alcoholic anonymous online.”

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Gulhane disagreed, and said: “With respect, alcohol consumption fell in those who were not deprived. We saw that and we actually saw alcohol consumption with those who have a problem going up.

Glasgow Times:

“And a report by Public Health Scotland found no clear evidence of a reduction in alcohol consumption among people drinking at harmful levels following the implementation of alcohol minimum pricing.”

Prof Meier, however, said dependency means the heaviest drinkers need to be treated separately.

She added: “There’s a lot of international evidence on alcohol pricing working in terms of reducing consumption.

“It also shows very heavy drinkers reduce their consumption by less, on average, because of various dependency factors. I would treat them as separate.

"There is something to be said about minimum unit pricing is a policy that makes alcohol less accessible to young people. It gives a strong message about cheap alcohol is not a good thing to have in your society.”