08 February 2024

WithYou responds to Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland

Policy@2X (2)

Today (Thursday, 8 February), Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care announced that the minimum unit price of alcohol will be increased to 65p from early May 2024.

Our policy lead for Scotland, Graeme Callander, says: “We welcome this uprating, which will keep prices in line with inflation and ensure that minimum unit pricing continues to be an effective measure in tackling our nation’s complex relationship with alcohol.

“However, we know that minimum unit pricing will not help or protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society - those who are already drinking harmfully and will find a way to keep drinking, regardless of the cost.

“In order to reach these people, and ultimately save lives, the Scottish Government needs to ensure that well-resourced alcohol treatment and support services are available in communities across Scotland.”

Pauline (61) started drinking when she was in her 50s, after taking early retirement from her job. She was hospitalised four times before turning to WithYou for support.

She says: “I had worked every day since I was 16 and then there was… nothing. The first year of retirement was fine, I went on holiday, decorated my house. But after that… nothing. So I started drinking.



“At that time, the cost of alcohol wouldn’t have made a difference to me. I would have found the money somewhere. It’s the same as any other addiction, you find a way.”

Now Pauline volunteers at the WithYou Glasgow North East Recovery Hub, running a mutual aid partnership group for people over the age of 50 who are facing challenges with alcohol.

Pauline continues: “Our group is so popular that we have a waiting list! Being able to talk to people who have had similar experiences is so helpful, it’s different from speaking to friends and family.

“Most people attending the group tell us that they start drinking because they feel isolated; alcohol becomes their best friend. I don’t think the price of alcohol is a factor for them, they mostly have jobs. What would really help people is having more groups like ours. Groups need to be available right across Scotland, wherever you live, so that people can get some advice and have someone to talk to.”


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