The minimum price of alcohol is set to rise by 30% under proposals by the Scottish Government.

The plan is to up the minimum price from 50p per unit to 65p.

Shona Robison, deputy first minister said the hike is needed to counter the effect of inflation and “increase the positive effects of the policy.

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It has been argued that minimum pricing has led to fewer hospital admissions and fewer deaths than had it not been introduced.

The reports, however, also show that it has not had an impact on the most problematic drinkers and even showed people with serious alcohol addiction have skipped food and other essentials to meet the cost of buying drink.

Robison, said: “Research commended by internationally-renowned public health experts estimated that our world-leading Minimum Unit Pricing policy has saved hundreds of lives, likely averted hundreds of alcohol-attributable hospital admissions and contributed to reducing health inequalities.

“Despite this progress, deaths caused specifically by alcohol rose last year – and my sympathy goes out to all those who have lost a loved one.

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“We believe the proposals, which are supported by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, strike a reasonable balance between public health benefits and any effects on the alcoholic drinks market and impact on consumers. Evidence suggests there has not been a significant impact on business and industry as a whole.”

If MSPs in the Scottish Parliament agree, the rise will take effect on 30 September 2024.

Opponents argue the policy is not effective in dealing with alcohol related harm.

Sandesh Gulhane, Glasgow conservative MSP said: “Rather than tackling the epidemic of alcoholism, MUP simply punishes responsible drinkers.

“As a practising GP, I am well aware of the plight of alcoholism in Scotland, however it is clear that MUP is not reducing alcohol related deaths as the SNP are claiming.

“What is perhaps most concerning is the report from Public Health Scotland that highlighted that problem drinkers are choosing to skip meals in order to buy alcohol.”

Meanwhile, a leading trade union has questioned the reasoning for proposing the price rise.

David Hume, GMB Scotland organiser in the drinks industry, said: “The case for continuing with MUP never mind increasing it gets weaker with every piece of research published.

“Ministers must be guided by reliable research and data not wishful thinking and good intentions.

“Five years ago, we were told this policy would help save lives of problem drinkers. Now we are told it is about curbing the intake of moderate drinkers but there is no substantive evidence to suggest it does either.”