Public Health Scotland today published an analysis of responses to relevant questions in the 2013, 2015 and 2019 Scottish Social Attitude Surveys (SSAS), which asked a representative sample of the Scottish adult population about their attitudes to Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP).
Findings suggest that the public are more in favour of MUP than against, and that public attitudes have become more favourable over time.
Each wave of the survey found more respondents in favour of MUP than against, the proportion in favour has increased over time and the proportion against has fallen. In 2015, 41.3% of respondents were in favour and 33.4% were against MUP, but by 2019 respondents were almost twice as likely to be in favour (49.8%) than to be against (27.6%).
Analysis by age, sex and Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile found that all sub-groups had greater proportions of respondents in favour of MUP than against.
When respondents were asked why they held their particular attitude, the most common reasons for being in favour of MUP related to a perception that alcohol is a problem to be addressed in Scotland. The most common reasons for being against were concerned with whether or not MUP would be effective in reducing alcohol-related harm. Reasons for being for or against MUP were found to have changed little over time.
Dr Karl Ferguson, Public Health Intelligence Advisor at Public Health Scotland, said:
“These findings from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey show the public is generally more in favour of MUP than against, and that attitudes appear to have grown more favourable over the timeframe during which the policy was implemented.
“While there are a number of possible explanations for why attitudes have grown more favourable, one interpretation is that the public’s understanding of the policy and what it means for them has improved. A related possible explanation is that some concerns the public may have held prior to implementation have not been observed.
"For example, MUP did not increase prices across the board in the off- and on-trades, as it only directly influences the pricing of a minority of off-trade products.
“This study is one of a number in the on-going evaluation of MUP which develops our understanding of the wider impact of the policy’s implementation”.