Scots Are Not Going On ‘Booze Cruises’ To England Study Finds

Research by Public Health Scotland has shown that very few people are travelling to England to buy cheaper alcohol than they can in Scotland. Indeed it is so small in number that it is unlikely to ‘significantly affect alcohol consumption at a population level or impact the intended outcomes and aims of MUP ‘ (Minimum Unit Pricing).

Minimum Unit Pricing came into force on 1st May 2018 and requires all licensed premises in Scotland to set a floor price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol, below which alcohol cannot be sold.

The research also found that even Scots living close to the Scottish English border were not travelling to England to buy vast quantities of cheaper booze.

In 2020  alcohol sales in Scotland fell 5% on the previous year, to the lowest level recorded since 1994.

COVID-19 restrictions, including lockdown, affected alcohol sales from premises such as pubs, clubs, and restaurants which were mostly closed. Nine in every ten units of alcohol sold in Scotland in 2020 were sold via off-trade outlets including supermarkets and other off-licences – an increase from seven in every ten units in 2019. People were drinking at home.

There was a 10% year-on-year reduction in the number of deaths wholly caused by alcohol in 2019 but still in Scotland there are nearly 20 deaths each week due to alcohol.

It has been claimed by those who are against Minimum Unit Pricing that Scots would travel into England in large numbers to buy cheaper drink. This report from Public Health Scotland shows that from their evidence the ‘booze cruises’ into England are not happening.

The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 has a sunset clause that requires the Scottish Parliament to vote before 1st May 2024 on whether or not MUP will continue.

Link to services which can offer help and support if you are worried about your or someone else’s drinking: NHS Inform

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Fiona Grahame

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