Public Health Scotland (PHS) welcomes the response from the UK Statistics Authority to Dr Gulhane MSP on its final report in the evaluation of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland. The letter from Sir Robert Chote, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority - which focuses on how statistical evidence has been presented - says that "the findings in the final PHS report are communicated clearly and impartially".
In light of feedback from the UK Statistics Authority, PHS made minor updates to the Evaluation findings at a glance document, which was published as part of the final report on 27 June 2023. The updated wording makes it clear that the reductions in alcohol sales, deaths and hospital admissions are estimates based on the research that had been done within the evaluation. PHS acknowledges the comments from the UK Statistics Authority about communicating uncertainty consistently. There have been no changes made to the final report, its findings or the interpretation of the findings.
Overall, the evidence supports that MUP has had a positive impact on health outcomes, namely a reduction in alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital admissions, particularly in men and those living in the most deprived areas, and therefore contributes to addressing alcohol-related health inequalities. There was no clear evidence of substantial negative impacts on the alcoholic drinks industry, or of social harms at the population level.
The research carried out and the evaluation report were recognised as high-quality and comprehensive in a recent letter published in the Lancet.