Wales alcohol pricing scheme: How will it work?


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Minimum pricing for alcohol is already in place in Scotland

From Monday, anyone in Wales who sells or supplies alcohol for less than 50p per unit will be breaking the law – and could be fined up to £1,000.

This does not only apply to pubs, bars and shops, but anywhere alcohol is sold, including street parties and village fetes.

One unit of alcohol is equivalent to about half a pint of beer, or a single shot of sprits.

A small glass of wine contains about 1.5 units.

It means the cheapest price for a bottle of wine of average strength and size will be £4.69.

An average can of lager will not cost less than £1.22 and a 70cl bottle of vodka will be at least £14.

Prices for some cheaper drinks will also increase – and the offers in supermarkets could look very different from before.

How is the minimum price worked out?

The minimum price is worked out with a simple formula: 50p, times the strength of the alcohol, times the volume.

So, M x S x V = the minimum price.

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Media captionA 30-second guide to how the minimum price for alcohol is worked out

Will minimum alcohol pricing help pay for the NHS?

No, as this is not a tax the cash does not go to the government or towards things like the Welsh NHS. It will go back into the pocket of the pub, retailer or brewery.

What has happened in Scotland since minimum pricing was introduced there?

Minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland was introduced in May 2018.

A study suggested it appeared to have cut drinking.

Research published in the British Medical Journal looked at how much alcohol was bought in shops before the change and after it, up to the end of 2018.

It found the amount purchased per person per week fell by 1.2 units – the equivalent of just over half a pint of beer or a measure of spirits.

Will minimum alcohol pricing apply if I order online?

If you order your alcohol online, on a computer or app in Wales, from a company or supplier based in Wales, you will have to pay the minimum price.

But if you are outside Wales, abroad or simply over the border when you order, or if you are ordering from a company based outside the country, it does not apply.

This also includes if it is delivered to a click-and-collect point.

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Does minimum alcohol pricing mean an end to buy one, get one free deals, bottomless prosecco and alcoholic raffle prizes?

No, but the price of all alcohol sold must be above the minimum price, so shoppers may see smaller savings, as some retailers may have to charge more to comply with the law.

And alcohol can still be won in raffles or prize draws, so long as it has been donated, and the winner is going to drink it later, away from the venue.

But if there is a stall selling alcohol at a school or charity event, the sellers will have to abide by minimum pricing.

Can people go to England to buy alcohol to avoid paying the minimum price?

Yes, though it is not clear how many people might want to do that. There are some concerns that sellers on the Welsh side of the border could be forced to shut up shop, due to having to charge more than sellers on the English side.

It is not illegal to buy alcohol outside Wales and bring it back to drink, or to sell alcohol bought outside Wales – but retailers will have to charge the minimum price if it is sold on.

Some of these questions were sent in and inspired by readers of Wales’ minimum alcohol price ‘won’t tackle middle class drinkers’



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