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Public health activists are asking the Scottish government to stay focused on managing Scotland's problematic relationship with alcohol on the second anniversary of the introduction of minimum unit prices.
The minimum unit price (MUP) went into effect in Scotland on 1 May 2018, in an attempt to reduce alcohol consumption above average and high mortality rates from alcohol-related illnesses and prevent retailers from selling alcoholic beverages, including beers, wines, spirits and ciders, less than 50p per unit of alcohol.
Alison Douglas, executive director of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “The initial results of the assessment of the minimum price per unit are extremely encouraging, as the studies found a significant reduction in consumption in the first year compared to England and Wales. However, recent reports on alcohol sales growth and our own research showing that one million of us in Scotland are drinking more under confinement, highlight the ongoing problem we still have with alcohol in this country. It remains to be seen the impact that social distance will have and what new challenges it will pose. But Scotland's harmful relationship to alcohol is unlikely to be altered for the better. "
Currently, the Scottish government is discussing a possible relaxation of alcohol licensing restrictions during the blockade, as elderly buyers and others are taking advantage of the early opening of supermarkets.
Private areas have double mortality rates for wealthy people
Residents in underserved areas have experienced double the death rates of those in wealthy areas, reveal new figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Of the 20,283 deaths recorded at Covid-19 in England and Wales through April 17, an overwhelming proportion of deaths were from people in the poorest areas. The poorest area had 55.1 deaths per 100,000 people, more than double (118%) than in the least deprived areas, where the rate was 25.3 deaths.
London had the highest death rate, with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The highest age-standardized mortality rate was in Newham, with 144.3 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Brent with 141.5 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and Hackney 127.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.