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Wales’ minimum pricing law on alcohol comes into effect March 2020

3rd March 2020

row of cider cans

From March 2020, welsh retailers that sell alcohol will have to charge 50p per unit. This means that a regular bottle of wine will now cost no less than £4.69 according to the BBC. This is after figures have suggested that around 500 people in Wales die each year of alcohol relates causes. The problem is increasing, putting more pressure on NHS Wales as costs increase for each patient admitted with alcohol consumption-related problems.

However, this is not intended to impact all alcohol. It is focused on tackling the damage that cheap, strong alcohol has on people’s kidneys and liver because of the amount that is available to them such as white cider after it was likened to heroin among alcoholics by The Guardian:

“You see techniques like when they [white cider drinkers] drink out of a can, they'll pierce a hole in the end to release the gas and down it very quickly as the lack of bubbles means a quicker hit to the brain. It bears a likeness to that of a heroin addict who will inject into the groin because it produces the fastest effect."

The Welsh government, including Health minister Vaughan Gething, hopes that it brings similar results to that of Scotland’s success as a report found that sales of alcohol in Scotland had reduced since May 2018, when their system was issued.

Yet, in England and Northern Ireland, the Home Office has made a statement that there are currently no plans to implement minimum pricing for alcohol.

Whether the general public is in agreement with the Welsh government, however, has had mixed reviews. Many people that have tackled the addiction in the past have come forward to suggest that it may not help with alcoholism, but in fact, make it worse. Sarah Pritchard spoke to the BBC about her past struggles as a recovering alcoholic. She was asked if she thought minimum alcohol pricing would have stopped her drinking, Ms Pritchard said: "No, because I know what the withdrawal feelings are." She believes that it will actually increase crime as people struggle to find the money for the alcohol whereas others have suggested it could push some drinkers to drugs instead.

Despite this, the Welsh government has said that their research has shown that a negative outcome is unlikely to happen. If you have an interest in law and wish to become a part of the legal sector, check out LAW Absolute, a legal recruitment agency for London.