Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today called for a 5p increase in the minimum unit price to 65p and encouraged the Scottish Government to "finish the job" after new figures showed significant reductions in the number of adults exceeding safe weekly drinking guidelines.
Today's figures published by Public Health Scotland show that while sales have dropped, the sales figures are still higher than in England and Wales.
The new report shows that in 2019:
24% of all adults reported exceeding the safe weekly drinking guideline of 14 units a week, down from just over a third (34%) in 2003.
1,020 deaths were described as "wholly attributable to alcohol"
23,685 people were admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related diagnosis, with some requiring more than one stay in hospital.
Mr Rennie said:
"When I became leader I pushed to change party policy and back a minimum unit price for alcohol because I recognised Scotland had an unhealthy attitude to alcohol misuse.
"Even today we are seeing an average of 20 people per week die due to alcohol misuse. This is shocking, sad and preventable.
“Excessive consumption hurts individuals, families and communities. These measures are a small price to pay to reduce the long-term burden on them and our under-pressure health and justice systems.
“Raising the minimum unit price to 65p in line with the original ambition of the policy would allow us to finish the job and send a clear signal about our resolve to win the battle against the bottle.”