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Trade bodies warn over rising MUP in Scotland

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The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has warned that increased Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) could deepen the cost-of-living crisis, impacting local businesses and hitting struggling households the hardest.  

Last Friday, the Deputy First Minister announced that the minimum unit pricing for alcohol will increase from 50p to 65p effective from 30th September 2024.

The 65p increase will mean the lowest price for a bottle of wine would rise from £4.88 to £6.34. 

Despite calling for a twelve-month implementation period, SFG has welcomed the nine-month lead time before prices change and it will continue to engage with the Scottish Government over the coming months.

In 2018, SGF worked with the Scottish Government to publish a Retailers Guide on MUP and host an easy to access online MUP Calculator for retailers to use. In the coming months, it hopes to repeat this process for the new price of 65p.

Dr Pete Cheema OBE Chief Executive of SGF stated that the SGF is committed to responsible retailing and supports the Scottish Government’s efforts to minimise alcohol harm: “Many convenience retailers are working flat-out just to keep the lights on, and doors open. It is often the case that convenience stores are at the very heart of their communities. Providing essential services such as post offices, bill payment services and access to cash.

“Continuing to provide a ‘full basket’ for customers means that if one product category has limited value, then income needs to come from other items. Restrictions and higher prices inevitably come at a greater cost to doing business, putting more pressure on budgets and struggling household incomes. Ministers didn’t listen to us on DRS, they didn’t listen to us on NDR, and now they are not listening to us on MUP.”

The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has also warned that increasing the minimum price of alcohol in Scottish stores will not solve the issue of problem drinking, but could put retailers at further risk from retail crime. 

Mo Razzaq national vice president of the Fed commented on the move: “It is not going to tackle the issue of alcohol consumption. Anyone with alcohol abuse issues will steal the product if they cannot afford it, as it is an addiction. The government is not spending enough to get people addicted to alcohol with the help they need. There also needs to be highly effective campaigning to help change Scotland’s attitude towards drink. As usual, it is passing the buck to businesses.”

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